Why is creating a target audience so important for your marketing strategy?
Your target audience (or target market) should be the helm that guides your marketing strategy. Without defining who you’re talking to, your marketing activity is simply yelling into the void, hoping someone hears.
This approach can be effective – think clickbait articles – but it’s entirely unsustainable. For example, if you bombard people with a high volume of loosely relevant content, something’s bound to get through. But without any purpose behind it, the effect won’t stick.
Plus, if you’re consistently off the mark with your messaging then all you’re doing is damaging your relationship with a specific group of people.
Integrating targeted content into your marketing strategy, from large email marketing campaigns to individual activities, will help you produce material that provokes stronger, more sustainable engagement.
The benefits of target marketing strategies
1. Direct communication
When speaking to a varied audience (although a necessary strand of any marketing strategy), it’s difficult to find content that will deeply resonate with everyone. By targeting your marketing based on a specific audience and their concerns, they will feel better heard and understood. This leads to better customer experiences, trusted relationships, and loyal customers.
2. Value-add marketing strategy
Marketing with no direction is just noise. When you truly understand your audience – what they care about, their pain points, and their objectives – you can create marketing material that both directly answers their questions and solves their challenges. As a result, you avoid creating content that misses the point and becomes a noddy nuisance in people’s feeds.
3. High-quality leads
The leads that filter in from targeted marketing are likely warmer and more qualified than those produced by a brand awareness campaign. This is because by focusing your content, you’ve made the thing that sets you apart immediately clear. And you’ve done so on a personal, human level. This is much more appealing than generic sales language that consumers can spot a mile away!
How to define your target audience
First and foremost, your target audience(s) will be created during your marketing strategy process. It’s one of the first things you need to define – who are you trying to sell to? This will determine the other elements of your strategy – including brand strategy, strategic messaging, commercial market plans, content plans, and more.
Buyer personas should tell you all you need to know about your desired audience. Ideally, they’ll be representative of your market segmentation groups. Standard personas contain the following information:
- Business objectives
- Personal objectives
Unfortunately, there’s no quick way to create these. It takes time, market research, audience research, and sector experience to fill them out accurately. Your sales team and your audience themselves are both valuable sources for this data.
B2B buyer cycle
For more targeted campaigns, especially account-based marketing campaigns, you should be drilling down even further into the minutiae of your target audience’s buyer cycle. This may be as broad as a sector or focused on a ‘white whale’ organisation.
For B2B technology markets, the buyer cycle is long and complex. There are multiple gatekeepers in the sales journey – each with different challenges and objectives. Miller Heiman defines four types of decision makers you’ll likely find, and need to target, within a B2B organisation to reach a sale:
The Economic Buyer – Business-focused and driven by ROI
The User Buyer – Cares about on-the-ground, practical concerns
The Technical Buyer – The ‘feasibility’ gatekeeper
The Coach – Your inside man
A great targeted marketing campaign will individualise content and workflows to suit all of these influencers. It’s definitely more time consuming, but if done right, it should speed up the process of your sale.
The ideal scenario: Each buyer has received material specific to them and thought, “this is exactly what I need to solve my issue/meet my objective”. Then, when your product or service gets recommended up the chain, the next influencer has already heard of you. Finally, because you’ve simultaneously engaged all the gatekeepers through marketing, it’s much easier for your sales team to close the deal.
Types of targeting strategy (and how they use target audience data)
First, let’s define the process of segmenting the market. Your target market or audience might be huge – e.g., small businesses in finance.
From here, you might want to break your groups down to ensure you’re creating individualised experiences. Within reason and the limits of resource of course. This makes your other targeted marketing efforts much more manageable.
Account-based marketing is built on a framework of audience data. These targeted strategies are optimised for a focused audience – so knowing this audience inside out is essential.
The primary outcome of audience research for this strategy is personalisation. Every inch of communication is not only tailored to the recipient, but the style of communication is wholly more human than other marketing techniques.
Search engine optimisation
Keyword research is much more useful and streamlined when you understand your audience.
Firstly, it makes it much easier to identify relevant searches. Let’s say you want to target AI programmers. You know this audience is well-versed in this area so you can safely assume they aren’t the ones searching ‘What is AI?’. Even if it’s got a high search volume.
Secondly, the more you know about your audience, the more targeted your SEO research, and therefore your strategies, will become.
Trawling through the related search term results for ‘AI’ casts a rather wide, shallow net. Instead, you would research terms related to key challenges or objectives for your audience. For example, ‘Pytorch vs TensorFlow’, ‘ethical AI’, or ‘preparing training data’.
Suddenly, your results are much more insightful. This allows you to both improve your targeted content and continue deepening your audience knowledge.
Digital marketing strategy
Digital and social media platforms like LinkedIn are miles more effective when you have accurate audience data.
Ranging from sectors and locations to specific companies and job titles, these campaigns need to be heavily backed by market insight in order to reach the people you want. Then, to not only get people’s attention, but drive them to act or click, your messaging and branding needs to be on point.
Realistically, you might have one opportunity in the form of a short ad to make someone stop, engage, and act. The content on that ad – maybe just a few words – has to get straight to the heart of your audience’s demands.
Without a fully realised target audience to guide you, there’s no way to know what these magic words may be.
Do you have more questions about building a marketing strategy? Get in touch.