Target Audience: Why to Define It, How to Classify and Segment It
Target audience is a group of consumers with similar desires that an organization can satisfy through its products. People are grouped based on factors such as gender, age, geographical location, solvency, interests, and more.
The success of a brand depends on a well-crafted offering for potential customers. For example, companies selling children's toys target parents, while a health food store targets people who prefer a healthy lifestyle.
Attention should be paid to various aspects: customer desires, preferences, place of residence, and more. Each product has its own specific consumer group because it's through such targeted advertising campaigns that results are achieved.
Why is it important to correctly identify the target audience?
Organizations need to understand the profile of their target audience in order to offer products only to interested customers. If a company knows what consumers prioritize when making a purchase, it will be able to:
create advertising campaigns that attract consumers;
launch promotions that lead to good sales;
optimize their products to stand out from competitors;
release new products that are interesting to customers.
Let’s consider the example of Royal Air Maroc, the Moroccan airline. They offer a family pack on special conditions for families (priority to check-in for a flight, free booking of seats nearby, free baggage for babies etc), thus, making the flight more convenient and cheap for a family than for single travelers.
Classification of the target audience
Based on buying behavior
Primary target audience
This is the priority group for companies. They make the decision themselves regarding the need to purchase a product and act as the initiators of the purchase. For example, white collars independently decide what clothes to buy for their workdays.
Indirect target audience
This audience plays a passive role in the purchasing process. For example, it can be a person who receives a gift certificate for a specific store.
Based on interests
These are consumers interested in your store as a whole. For example, the broad target audience of a health food store would be people who prefer healthy food products in general.
This refers to a more specialized group of people segmented based on a specific characteristic. For example, women, men, parents, students, athletes, schoolchildren, and others. These groups differ from each other, and their purchasing decisions may focus on different details. For instance, students may prioritize saving money (e.g., a "buy one, get one free" promotion), while athletes may focus on choosing nutritious products to maintain their fitness (e.g., expanding the assortment of protein-rich options).
Based on target group type
This segment includes organizations that provide products or services to other businesses. For example, agencies developing online business solutions or companies supplying raw materials and other materials for business operations.
B2C refers to companies that sell products directly to individual consumers. This category includes clothing and food stores, pet supplies, beauty salons, various courses, and more.
Based on readiness to buy
These are customers who are unaware of your brand and are not interested in purchasing your products. To convert this audience into warm leads, you need to identify their problems and offer products as a solution to their needs.
This type of target audience is already familiar with your company and has some knowledge about your products. They may not have made a purchase yet but could have items in their shopping cart or show interest in your offerings.
These are loyal customers and individuals who are highly interested in your brand. They are often referred to as the core target audience and are frequent buyers or strong brand advocates.
Characteristic features of target audience
To determine your target audience, it's important to consider various factors. To maximize profit and enhance brand success, you should focus on the following:
Demographic data: These are key details about your customers, such as gender, age, religion, education, purchasing power, and more. This information can be relatively easy to gather due to its availability and straightforward analysis.
Geographic data: Knowing the location of your customers is crucial, especially for local businesses. Geographic targeting allows you to tailor your advertising to people residing in specific areas. For example, it makes sense for a café in St. Petersburg to implement local geotargeting.
Psychographic data: This includes information about the personal characteristics of consumers, their values, interests, hobbies, and preferences. To obtain such data, you can create surveys/questionnaires or design a dedicated subscription form.
Behavioral data: Collected by tracking customer actions on your website, behavioral data reveals which products they viewed, added to their cart, or favorited. This data can then be used to shape your advertising campaigns.
By considering these factors and analyzing the data, you can gain valuable insights into your target audience and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
Target audience segmentation
Segmentation is the process of dividing a broad target audience into different groups that share certain characteristics.
Segmentation is used for more precise targeting in advertising campaigns or creating offerings to meet the needs of specific customers.
Let's provide an example: a store offering home styling sells its products & services to everyone. However, it is better to segment customers into specific categories:
Home renovators with children: Families engaged in home renovation projects, often with children. They seek furniture and home decor that complements their renovations while considering the needs of their children.
Style enthusiasts with affluence: Affluent individuals passionate about interior design who frequently update their home interiors. They prioritize unique, luxurious designs and are willing to invest in high-quality furniture and decor.
New homeowners on a budget: Young families or individuals who recently moved into a new home and have limited finances. They seek affordable furniture options to furnish and style their new space while considering their budget and the needs of their family, including children.
Design professionals in need of customization: Interior designers requiring something fitting for their projects. They are interested in customizable decor options that offer unique designs to meet the specific preferences of their clients.
Each group should be given attention and suggestions should be developed specifically for it.
An offer to get home styling for children’s bedroom
How to segment target audience
As we have already established, customers can be divided into different groups. Let's provide an example of such segmentation based on purchase frequency:
Active Consumers: These are customers who consistently purchase products from the brand. Strengthen the loyalty of this audience and continuously remind them of your brand.
Interested in Purchasing: This segment is interested in your products but has not yet decided whether to make a purchase or not. Find a way to persuade these customers to make a purchase and transition them into the active consumer segment.
Infrequent Buyers: These are people who have made purchases in the past but did so irregularly. The goal for the company is to reactivate them. Use targeted email campaigns, discounts, and loyalty programs to re-engage them and encourage repeat purchases.
Non-Purchasers: This segment consists of cold leads who have not made any purchases. Introduce them to your brand and demonstrate the advantages of your products through advertising offers and newsletters.
How to define target audience
Before developing a marketing strategy, it is important to study the target audience and then create an advertising campaign. Here are some methods to determine the core of your target audience:
Forecasting method: Start by creating an approximate profile of the TA, describing its characteristics and attributes. Then, create a campaign targeting this segment. Launch the advertising and evaluate the results to determine the accuracy of the profile.
Research method: This method involves conducting research either through agency analysis or gathering information from popular sources such as surveys by research institutions, specialized websites, and demographic data.
"5W" method: Based on the simple rule that every product has its own buyer, this method includes five points to identify specific TA segments. These points typically include the "Who, What, Where, When, and Why" aspects of the target audience.
Survey method: Surveys are conducted to determine the target audience. Some representatives of the target audience participate through social media, phone, or in-person interactions.
Interview method: There are two types of interviews: in-depth and regular. In-depth interviews involve a lengthy dialogue of about an hour, possibly recorded. The main goal is to uncover the main concerns and desires of the consumer. This method is more common in large businesses. Regular interviews often take place online or at events and do not require much time.
Three-level method: This method divides audience characteristics into the following levels:
General level: Basic characteristics of the target audience are specified.
Product category level: The frequency of product usage, purchase frequency, consumer loyalty, and the place of purchase (online or in-store) are determined.
Brand level: How people perceive the company. For example, what they know about the brand, their level of loyalty, and how they perceive the organization to be different from others.
After gathering information from these three levels, the general information is collected to describe the profile of the target audience.
- Statistical method, i.e., analysis of receipts is one of the most accessible sources of data (number of items, time and cost of purchase, total amount, etc.).
Behavior analysis of consumers on a website can also be conducted using analytics tools (such as Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica, which are the most popular ones).
Offline consumer behavior analysis can be done through surveillance cameras or by monitoring the number of people connected to free Wi-Fi.
Based on these data, the profile of the target audience is formed.
- Personas method is used to create a detailed and generalized profile of a potential customer.
There are stages to creating a buyer persona, which will represent your customer:
General description of the person: gender, age, religion, education, and more.
Values and priorities of the persona: uniqueness, status, practicality, and so on.
Where the consumer spends most of their time: online (which social media platforms they use) or offline.
Determine why the product is important to the persona and what aspects they prioritize when making a purchase.
Finally, give the persona a name and add a photo. This will help you visualize and create a portrait of your target audience to guide your efforts.
Target audience analysis
- CJM (Customer Journey Map) is a map of the customer's interaction that is based on the analysis of the desires and interests of the target audience. Various Mind Map services (such as Mindjet, Coggle) can be used to visualize it.
CustDev (Customer Development) involves testing ideas on potential customers through interviews. Google Forms, social media surveys, and other methods are used for this purpose.
Studying seasonality and demand can be done using tools like Google Trends and WordStat.
Analyzing TA of a website can be done using Yandex.Metrica for your own company and SimilarWeb for competitors.
Social media analysis is based on reports from social media platforms and various research websites such as mediascope.net and Target Hunter.
Analytical services provided by advertising platforms, such as YouTube Analytics and Attribution 360, analyze the interaction of the target audience across different sources.
The target audience is a group of consumers who share similar characteristics and are interested in an organization's products. Common characteristics include age, gender, location, purchasing power, interests, hobbies, frequency of product purchases, and familiarity with the brand.
Defining the target audience is crucial in the early stages of business. Take into account all the details and specifics of your audience, as well as its classification into different types (primary or secondary; broad or niche; B2B or B2C; cold, warm, or hot). Each type should be addressed separately. There are many methods to identify your target audience, such as forecasting, research, interviews, the three-level method, and others.
To analyze the target audience, effective techniques include customer journey mapping, testing ideas with potential buyers, studying seasonality and demand, analyzing social media and website data, and using various analytics services.