Choosing Products for Your Target Audience

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Last week, I asked you, “How Effective is Your Marketing Plan?” The second question on the Effectiveness Quiz was:

Did your plan address which products fill a need for your target demographic and why? (Choosing to target someone is all well and good, but if you can’t identify what product would fill a need in their life – it’s not worth your time to target it.)

Not every product you carry is going to be suited for your target audience (if you don’t have a target audience yet, you should read this post) so it’s important to discuss how and why particular product will fill a need for them. It’s incumbent upon you to figure out how your product will fill a void in their life.

To do this you need to really understand your target audience. Say their age bracket is 18-24, a female, university student, low-income and your product is a small metal notebook, filled with a 2.5″ x 3″ pad of paper, closed with a pen, and decorated with cutouts in the shapes of birds and flowers. Those demographics and product information, don’t tell the whole story – to really understand your target audience you need to create a narrative for how their day unfolds. For instance:

Karen is student and City University – her alarm goes off at 9, and she hits the snooze button 4 times before she musters the strength to get out of bed. It had been a long night of studying the night before and she hadn’t found her pillow until 3 am. After hauling herself out of bed, she heads down to the dorm’s communal bathroom where she takes a quick shower and gets ready for class. She hurries back to her room, grabs her backpack, tosses her computer in it and heads off through campus. After taking a seat in the last row of her first class she tries to pay attention throughout the lecture.

After class, she goes around the corner to the market for some much-needed caffeine in her favorite form, diet cola. As she’s checking out her eye catches a small metal notebook, filled with a pad of paper and closed with a pen. Just the night before she’d been wishing she had a notebook with paper just that size for taking notes and marking her textbook with. Since the price was just $3.99 she decided to splurge and get it along with the diet cola.

Understanding how your product fits into the life of the target audience, where they will encounter it, and why they might choose to make a purchase will allow you understand how and where your product needs to be in order to intercept your target audience and maximize your chance for a sale.

You can complete this exercise several times over for different products and for different versions of your target audience. Sharing these stories with your sales staff as well as your product development staff will help to align your organization, and definitely should be included in your strategic marketing plan.

Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

Reader Interactions


  1. Email Form says

    I am doing research for my university thesis, thanks for your great points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.

    – Laura

    • Tisha says

      While some agencies will try to make it all smoke and mirrors, mostly marketing done right is just common sense. That’s the quest we’re on here – to de-mystify marketing and make to make it accessible. I hope you’ll join us!

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