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Finding the way to your target audience

If you address everyone, you address no one. That’s how online marketing works. This approach was used in the past, though it would be anything but optimal today. Nowadays, you want to address the targeted audiences that promise the most success. This is easier said than done. Here are some suggestions for mastering this task.

Our brain blocks out around 90 % of our surroundings

This is particularly clear in the supermarket. We all know where our go-to products are, for example our favorite bread topping. We ignore the remaining thousands of products in the store. It’s the same online, if not worse. Especially on the internet, we are on autopilot.

In real life, we tend to read more carefully. Online, we tend to skim the content we are confronted with. On websites where we want to read up on something, we block out advertisements and we even tend to skim blog posts.

Because of this selective perception, which everyone has developed differently, it is a real challenge to address our customers. This is where forming a target group comes into play. If we think about who finds our advertising interesting, we can make sure that these people don’t simply tune out our banners.

But how do we know who these people are?

Creating a persona

You could create a buyer persona, i.e. a profile of a semi-fictitious person who represents the buyer of the product. Then build a marketing strategy based on this.

To do this, it is advisable, but not essential, to conduct interviews with your already loyal customers. Here you should find out about triggers, success factors, perceived hurdles, customer journey and decision criteria. You should mainly let the person speak for themselves and not ask lots of individual questions.

Then you should come up with a specific image of a customer. It helps to have an empty chair in the meeting room where this fictitious representative of the target audience sits. You should include specific details about this person in a profile. You should define as much as possible about this semi-fictitious customer. You should definitely include the following:

Key data, like name, age, marital status, profession, place of residence, …

Lifestyle, such as hobbies, interests, living conditions, appearance, …

Personality, for example introversion, conservatism, values, …

Buying behavior, as being a saver, quality fanatic, brand buyer, …

Information yield, namely newspapers, online newsletters, …

Motivation & demotivation, e.g. success, reputation, waiting time, unprofessionalism, etc.

As an extra tip: it would be advisable to write down quotes. You should have many questions answered by the person themselves and instead of a simple “Demotivation: waiting time” use a quote such as: “I hate waiting for a long time. It’s too much of a waste of time. I could use this time to spend time with my children.”. Instantly more meaningful, isn’t it?

There may be another question still: How many personas should I create? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. You should create as many as possible, but if the answers are too repetitive after a certain point, it’s not worth creating more.

Target group analysis

That’s a solution based on data and its structure can be learned by anyone. It is a good alternative to the buyer persona for those who prefer numbers.

With this method, you create surveys or conduct interviews with your targeted clientele. You already have a rough picture of your target group and merely take a sample from it. Alternatively, you can also take a sample directly from customers you have already acquired.

These people are asked the same questions. The aim is to find out their characteristics (gender, age, etc.), price sensitivity, purchasing behavior (motive, location, etc.) and other important characteristics (occupational group, education, etc.).

The questions naturally vary depending on the product being advertised. For a vegan food supplier, it is important to know the eating pattern of your targeted audience, but this detail is not important for a provider who wants to promote a science fair.

If you collect and analyze this data, you have a fairly accurate picture of your target group and now can create marketing strategies tailored to this image.

Does this work in B2B?

Yes, these models also work great in the B2B sector. However, some adjustments are necessary.

You should of course focus a lot on the company itself. Defining the size of the company, number of employees, proportion of people in management positions, sector and the like are a must. Furthermore, be careful not to address the normal employees, but the individuals with decision-making power.

This is where the biggest challenge lies. Approaching these people is often difficult and it definitely takes more work. Nevertheless, the preparatory work will be worth it.

One last tip for B2B:

Decision-makers are the most important contact persons, but the rest, such as expediters, as buyers, and initiators, as instigators, should not be neglected. Strategies should be adapted according to the type of leadership.

The target audience makes marketing stand or fall. It is the foundation for successful marketing. Neglecting it is like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer and hoping for good yield. It’s a matter of luck.

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