On this blog, we talk a lot about the value of speaking directly to a target audience. Whether we’re referring to digital signage content, hold messaging scripts, or overhead voiceovers, we always stress the importance of focusing on your target audience anytime you create content.

In this post, we’ll explain why this approach is such a vital part of great marketing and what you can do to define your target audience and get the most out of your promotional content.

What Is a Target Audience?

You probably hear the term “target audience” get tossed around quite a bit. But do you know exactly what the term means?

Business Dictionary calls a targets audience:

“Particular group of people, identified as the intended recipient of an advertisement or message.”

A target audience is a group of people:

  • Who you think of while creating content
  • Who you most want to see your content
  • Who you think will respond best to your content

A target audience is the sole, intended audience for a piece of content.

Others who don’t fit a target audience will also likely see the piece of content. For example, the MTV Awards have a target audience of young adults aged 17-25 who are interested in pop culture, movies, and music. The show and the advertising that runs during the show are aimed at that target audience. But that doesn’t mean a teen’s parents, who don’t fit into the target audience, won’t also see the show.

Content will get viewed by many eyes, but the target audience’s eyes are the only ones that content creators should worry about.

Focusing on one target audience is how you create content that builds powerful, meaningful connections with viewers.

What About Buyer Personas and Customer Avatars?

Target audience is sometimes referred to as a buyer persona or customer avatar. The terms are similar but they are not one-in-the-same.

A target audience is a general identification of a group of people. I.e. young adults aged 17-25 who are interested in pop culture, movies, and music.

A buyer persona or a customer avatar is a specific description of one fictional person. This imaginary person encompasses the characteristics that define a basic target audience. I.e. Sam is a 17-year old that lives in a Los Angeles suburb. He likes to find the hottest new artists and watch award shows with his friends.

All are used to reach the same goal — help marketers get to know their potential customers and clients. But, customer avatars and buyer personas offer a more detailed approach to defining a target audience. They offer a deep description of character and tell an intimate story about one fictional person.

If you want to use customer avatars and buyer personas, first create a target audience. Then, drill down into your descriptions to create one person who fits the defined characteristics.

How Do You Define Your Target Audience?

To identify your target audience, go through a discovery process that allows you to learn about them. The following questions and considerations help you do that.

List their characteristics. Define the demographic and psychographic details that define your target audience such as:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background
  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior
  • World View

List their problems. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and consider the problems they face. What issues are they having? What is making their life more difficult than it needs to be? What are their complaints and what do they wish things could be better? How do these obstacles make them feel?

List their desires and goals. Think about what would improve the life of your target audience. What do they want? What are their goals and ambitions? Why do they want those things? How would they feel if they obtained those things?

List their motivation. Consider why your target audience is motivated to make changes, improvements, and purchasing decisions? What drives their actions? What pushes them into taking action?

Consider how they spend their time. You also need to think about the lifestyle and habits of your target audience. How do they spend their time? What movies and shows do they watch? What websites do they use? What places do they typically visit?

Consider their shopping habits. If you are selling products and services, you also need to think about how your target audience makes purchasing decisions. What are their shopping habits? Do they shop online or in-person?

Answering these question will help you create your target audience and set you up for success in multiple ways.

Why Is Knowing Your Target Audience Useful?

Knowing how to define your target audience will holistically help your marketing and business.

It directs your content topics. When you know what your audience likes, you can create content they want to see. You can fill your website, digital signage content, hold messaging scripts, or overhead voiceovers with messages that interest your audience.

It directs the language you use. When you are familiar with your target audience, you know how to speak their language and use the terms and phrases that resonate with them.  

It directs the positioning of your messaging. When you know your audience’s problems, desires, and motivations, you can position your messaging to connect with those perspectives.

It directs the location of your promotions. When you know where your audience spends time, you can seed your messaging in places where your target is likely to see it.

It directs the future direction of your products and services. When you clearly understand your audience, you know how to reformat, repackage, or create new products and services that give them what they want.  

Target audience is a term that gets tossed around quite a bit in the marketing and advertising world. Now you can see why this isn’t a buzzword, and see that it’s actually an extremely important part of any great content creation effort.

Want to learn even more about how knowing your target audience can help you create better marketing campaigns, products, services, and branding?

Check out our free guide on How to Provide Exceptional Customer Experiences. The guide includes tips and advice to help you create a WOW experience from your marketing all the way to your in-person customer touchpoints. Get immediate access today by clicking on the button below.