Advertising and marketing are not exact sciences. If everyone knew how to write and produce effective ads that guarantee sales and success, everyone would simply follow that recipe and go on about their days. The reality is that different products need to be marketed in different ways to different people. The first step in determining the approach you will take in your messaging is identifying your target audience.

Definition of Target Audience

The concept of a target audience is simple: it’s the person or people who would be interested in your product or service. For example, if you own a sporting goods store, your target audience would be people who play sports and need equipment for themselves or their kids. If you own a window repair and installation company, your target audience would be people who own homes.

Finding a Target Audience Based on Interest or Need

It’s always good to make your target audience as specific as possible. The above examples are broad; you can drill down to tailor your messaging more clearly. If your sporting goods store is the only one in your town that carries hockey equipment, you may want to focus on hockey players or parents of hockey players. You might also consider products that sell well or are the most profitable for you.

Finding a Target Audience Based on Demographics

When buying media, you need to think of your target audience in terms of their demographics. This means considering consumers in groups based on factors like gender, age, income level, and geography. You may have a business that supplies inexpensive appliances, you might be targeting customers who are first time home buyers. Your demographic, then, might be adults 25-34, or women 25-34, with a household income of $75,000 or less. While assumptions and stereotypes are usually a bad thing, they are somewhat necessary to use respectfully as a basis for demographics.

The Relationship Between Target Audience and Messaging

Obviously, you would speak to a 65-year-old grandmother differently to an 18-year-old boy who’s just graduated high school. You would also speak to them through different mediums and platforms. The grandmother might respond to a newspaper or radio ad, while the 18-year-old might see an ad on Instagram or YouTube. Do your homework about each platform’s biggest demos and use whatever metrics they can provide to correlate against your profits and measure success or adjust.

Use these tips to know your audience, know how to reach them, and know what to say to them!