Repeat after me. “I am not my target audience.”
In most cases, you are not your target audience. They are not the same age as you, or from the same socioeconomic background, the same ethnic background, the same education level and in some cases not even the same gender.
Your target audience is not an employee of your company. They don’t know as much about your product or company as you do … They definitely don’t know your company or industry-specific lingo and acronyms. They don’t care about how long your company has been in business, about the intricacies of your brand identity like how and why your logo came to be, and they don’t care about your internal operational processes. Let’s be honest … some of your employees don’t even care about this stuff.
So why do we repeatedly talk to our target audiences from our point of view?
Take a look at your website, a brochure or other printed material … Be objective and consider and the following:
- Do you use “We” more than “You” in the copy? (i.e. We will provide you with blah blah. We are the very best at blah blah. We offer xyz.)
- Are services and products outlined as what you provide (things) as opposed to what your audience will receive (benefits)?
- Do you have your company’s history, mission, vision and/or 10 year plan described in detail in your brochure or on one of the primary pages of your website?
- Do your pictures show stuff instead of telling your audience a story about why they should buy your product/service?
- Do your photos and your brand persona (colors, fonts, language) reflect your target audience – gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic level?
- Do you use acronyms or industry lingo in your copy?
These are just a few of the many traps companies often fall into that unfortunately make it so the company is marketing to themselves instead of their target audience.
So where to begin?
We recommend starting with clearly identifying your target audiences. You might have one or two, or you might have several. If you have an overwhelming number … start by focusing on your 3 or 4 primary target audiences.
Once you have identified your target audiences, begin to learn everything you can about them. We recommend creating personas that help you put a face on your target audience. Make this a team activity … here are some of the things your personas might include:
- A photo of a person representing the target audience
- Name the persona (i.e. Ruth or Michael)
- Age, ethnicity, gender, and other key demographics
- Job/Career and educational background
- Family, friends and influencers
- Goals or ambitions for life
- Hobbies and interests
- Philosophies, motto, favorite quotes
- Technical abilities – email, social media, etc.
- Needs and wants
- Websites, stores, places, books and/or magazines the person enjoys
Once your personas are developed, hang the photos on the wall in your office or a meeting room and begin having conversations with them (it’s healthy … kind of). Or at least, begin to develop your campaigns, your branding efforts, and your copy off of these personas … giving them the information in the format and language they need to make a purchasing decision.
For more information on defining your target audiences and marketing to them at their points of choice, download our point of choice worksheet.
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