In the age of digital marketing, it has never been more important to have a clearly defined target audience. Having a target market is the foundation upon which any brand image and marketing strategy is built. No matter the industry, appealing to a relevant and specific target audience will help a business stand out and increase conversion rates, brand awareness, and customer loyalty.
To leverage the benefits that come from target audience digital marketing, it is important to first understand clearly what a target audience is and how this style of advertising can benefit your business.
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience is a specific group of people that have been identified as potential customers for a business. This group can be defined by many different factors; for example, some common identifiers include:
- Education level
- Socioeconomic status
- Marital status
- Profession/ industry
Although these are the most common demographics, this list is by no means exhaustive and it pays to be creative. For example, some companies find their target audience by focusing on psychographic signifiers, which include things like hobbies, interests, and behaviours. Examples of psychographic identifiers are:
- People who enjoy running regularly
- People who often play on a video console
- People who travel frequently
Another way of choosing a target audience is to focus on specific beliefs or opinions that the potential customer holds. For example, a target audience could be a group of people who
- Care about climate change
- Are always looking for the best possible deal on a purchase
- Prefer to shop at independent stores
Most businesses that successfully market to their target audience have this audience defined by more than one of these signifiers. Choosing more than one signifier allows for a more specific marketing campaign and therefore a greater chance that a customer will feel personally connected to your brand, increasing brand loyalty and repeated sales.
Apple Desktop Case Study and the Potential for Target Audience Marketing
Apple might look like a brand that appeals more to a universal customer than a set target audience, as it has become the first US company to be worth over $2 trillion.
The Apple Mac Pro Desktop is marketed to creative professionals. It’s for this reason that their computers are designed specifically for graphical performance, with video software like final cut pro being included with the purchase. The impact of marketing to creative-minded professionals can also be seen in the aesthetic design of the hardware and interface.
However, Apple not only marketed to a group of people based on their profession, but they aligned their brand image with a firm set of values. The collective intelligence website Hunch.com surveyed Mac and PC users and found that Mac users were 22% more likely to be between 18 and 34 years old than PC users. 58% considered themselves to be liberal, compared to 36% of PC users, Mac users were more likely to live in a city and to want to be ‘perceived as unique and different’.
Identifying and marketing to their specific target audience not only meant that Apple successfully advertised to group of people willing to pay a higher price for their product, but it helped to inform a brand image that others wanted to buy into. By successfully targeting and aligning this brand image with their specific target market, the desktop became a symbol of the trendy young professional, a personality type that future customers — who might not fit the specific category — nonetheless aspire to or identify with.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Target Audience in the Digital Age
Of course, marketing has changed a great deal since Apple’s early desktop launches. Defining and marketing to a specific target audience has become increasingly important as marketing has gone online, and there are two main reasons for this.
1. Increased Personalisation
Back in the old days, advertising would use instruments like billboards that would hopefully be seen by thousands of people. While the main aim of this style of advertising was to make the product appeal to a relevant audience, part of its effectiveness was in making this audience as broad as possible.
Technology today, specifically data analytics, has revolutionised advertising. Marketing has flipped from appealing to a broad range of people to being targeted to a specific individual. Personalised marketing involves making an individual feel that a brand specifically resonates with their beliefs, ideals, or behaviours. This new style of marketing is both a reaction to and utilisation of digital mechanisms which, when used correctly, will help a business stand out from the sea of online competition, increase click-through, boost conversion rates and increase brand awareness.
2. Integration and Increased RIO
Having a clearly defined target audience will impact everything from brand image to website design, search engine optimisation practices, keyword targeting and social media usage. Companies like Inspired Works know that without each aspect of a business’ online presence being branded to reflect their target audience, success will be limited. When website design, SEO practices, and social media presence all share one cohesive brand strategy that is inspired by the target audience brand visibility, sales and customer loyalty will all increase.
Cohesive branding that resonates with a target audience is more likely to increase sales as the customer continues to enjoy and identify with a brand and its products, from the first interaction to the moment a sale is made. This cohesion streamlines the on-site experience and makes click off-less likely. When a customer feels they personally identify with their brand they are also much more likely to return. By marketing to a relevant target audience who will identify with the brand and encourage these customers to return, you are reducing the costly expenditure required to keep marketing to new customers.