A couple of days ago, I asked you, “How Effective is Your Marketing Plan?” The first question on the Effectiveness Quiz was:
Did your plan clearly articulate your target audience, including demographic information?(The correct answer would be something on the order of 20-34 yrs old, middle income, attending “X” school and living in “Y” neighborhood. If the answer is “anyone within the sound of our voice” — you’re going to have to deduct 5 points from your score.)
Hopefully, you didn’t give an answer that resulted in -5 points, but here is why it’s important to start with a well defined target audience. I’ve worked with a number of management-types whose answer to the question – “Who is your target audience?” is simply “Well, everyone is – I don’t want to exclude anyone! I want everyone to do business with me.” The problem with this sentiment is that if you’re target is literally “everyone” you’re effectively targeting “no one.” In today’s economy, not a single company can afford to purchase the quantity of media that would be required to successfully target “everyone.” If you actually attempted it, you’d need to purchase television (across all ages, gender, education, income, and race), the same for radio, newspaper, digital, outdoor, and everything else. That’s one REALLY big budget!
On the other hand, if you limit your target audience to (for instance) females, 25-34, educated, upper income it’s a lot easier to buy media that will reach them (and by easier, I mean cheaper!) Choosing that (or any other target market) will allow you to purchase only the television that appeals to that consumer, only the radio that appeals to them, allows you to skip the newspaper purchase (because they don’t read it), and reinvest newspaper money into digital media (where they spend most of their time.) It’s simply much more effective!
Limiting your target audience also allows you to craft a message that will resonate with your target audience. Let’s face it, the way you talk to a 55 year old man should be very different from the way you talk to a 28 year old female. (If it’s not — that’s a whole other topic, email or IM me to discuss that). Your target audience should dictate your speaker, the language they use, the pace of their speech, the type of music in the background, what the message is, and what images are used. Limiting your target market just makes good business sense.
By creating a target audience and adhering to it for marketing purposes does not mean that you’d turn away someone who doesn’t fit that definition, but it does mean you won’t seek them out and you won’t create a business model that caters to their unique needs. You’ll create a business model that caters to the unique needs of your target audience instead. That will give you an additional layer that will help to differentiate you from your competitors in your target audiences’ eyes. And that’s a good thing, because at the end of the day – you have to make it into your target audiences’ consideration set in order to be able to sell them on your business. Narrowing your focus on target audience will allow you to be more successful in the long run.