You are Not Your Target Audience

There’s one thing that I constantly have to remind clients…


What does that mean? It means that when you’re determining how to market your business, product or service, you may have to step outside of the box in order to appropriately tap into your target audience. Your target audience may or may not think the same way that you do – but they definitely aren’t going to have a lot of the inside information that you have. You’re passionate about your product, you’re an expert in your field, you know what you want your audience to think and feel about your business, all of these different factors play into what you’re automatically going to assume your target audience knows. Forget all of that and assume that not only does your target audience know nothing about your business, but you know nothing about your target audience.

So, how do you market to an audience that you know nothing about that knows nothing about what you’re selling?

  • Determine who your target audience actually is and why. Whose problem are you selling a solution to? Why is your product or service the right solution for them? How do you know? When you can answer those questions, you have a pretty good starting point.
  • Next comes the part that most people like to avoid: market research. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! A lot of your research has probably already been done – so start by searching online for information about the audience you determined in the last step. Consider the demographic, psychographics and VALS (Values, Attitudes and Lifestyles). Determine what’s important to them, how they communicate and what channels they use to communicate.
  • Do some test runs. Talk to people who fall within your target audience and see how they react to your messaging. Re-designing your logo? Use crowdsourcing to create something you know your audience will respond positively to. Launching a new line of products? Host a casual focus group where you can run the new line by your audience.
  • Look at the entire marketplace. Are you targeting 25-year-old women with college degrees? What other things do 25-year-old women with college degrees spend their money on? Why? How can you leverage that information and apply it to your marketing strategy?
  • Look at your competition. Are you a dentist that targets families? What is your competition saying, with what channels, and does it seem to be working for them?

If you find that you start thinking along the lines of, “I would never ‘Google’ that” or “I only choose a new product if my friends recommend it,” you need to stop, separate yourself from your audience and start over with fresh non-biased thinking.

Assuming that you already know who your target audience is and how they think will really limit your ability to develop good, strategic marketing strategies that work.