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You Need a Target Audience

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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.


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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.

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