How to Research Your Target Audience

Stacy Felske

Stacy Felske About The Author

Oct 6, 2021 10:31:32 AM

How to Research Your Target Audience

Target audience research is arguably the most important step in marketing and advertising for every business. Knowing your audience allows you to see the importance of your brand in consumer minds (and appeal to it) and gives you an edge over the competition by allowing you to reach and resonate with the right people. 

Forbes reports that 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing, and 98% of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships. What's more, customers are even willing to trade their personal information to receive more personalized experiences.  

According to the same report, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience. More than 50% of consumers are eager to share information on products they like to get personalized discounts.  

Here's how to identify a target audience to better personalize their experiences and position your brand as the solution to their problems. 

Questions About Branding? Let's Talk!

Understand Your Current Customer Base  

Start your target audience research by asking yourself a few questions: 

  • Who are your current customers? The more you know about your existing customer base, the better prepared you will be in pinpointing and resonating with your most ideal leads and new customers.  
  • Who are your most faithful customers? You'll likely have a range of customers interested in your products — and it is good to have data on all of them — but loyal customers are especially important. Understanding who your loyal customers are and why they've fallen in love with your product will give you more insight into how you can appeal to like-minded customers and make them more likely to return as well.  
  • How did you gain your current customers? Consider what attracted your products/services to the customers you have now, so you have a foundation for attracting interested consumers. This can be done by asking current customers for feedback, reviews, and even sending out surveys in exchange for discounts and freebies to obtain the necessary data.  
  • Who is your competition? Finally, you'll need to know who your competition is, how they attract customers, and who those customers are. This will help you evaluate what they're doing right and wrong to better inform your tactics.  

Once you know your current customer base, including your competition's existing customer base, you'll want to target new consumers in similar ways. While no one person is the same, consumers with the same interests and needs for products/services can be successfully targeted with similar tactics.   

Create Buyer Personas  

Screen Shot 2021-10-05 at 10.29.52 AMWhen you have a better grasp of your current customer base and the consumers interested in your products, it's time to create buyer personas. Buyer personas represent your target audience via a singular persona representing a whole group, usually segmented into different groups and as detailed as possible. Most companies start with two to four personas initially, but you can add more as your knowledge of your consumer base grows and your groups get more segmented.   

This is not only important for keeping your brand messages consistent and relevant to your audience but is also crucial to your bottom line. Research has shown that marketing personas make websites two to five times more effective and easier to use by targeted audiences. 

How to create a buyer persona  

Start by knowing the underlying demographics of your target audience: 

  • Age  
  • Gender  
  • Location  
  • Interests  
  • Pain points  
  • Income   
  • Occupation, etc.  

Then, use this information to give your persona an identity, including a name and details like where these buyer personas would spend their time. Since you'll want to market/target them where they are (i.e., social media, email, etc.), knowing where they spend most of their time is essential to ensuring your messages and content get to the right people.   

Go Deeper into Target Market Insights  

Screen Shot 2021-10-05 at 10.30.04 AMKnowing your audience starts with the typical data on demographics and interests of your target market, but truly understanding your consumers requires diving a little deeper into their minds. You'll want to genuinely understand your target audience's pain points and design content and ads to speak directly to their needs and problems that your offer can resolve.  

This way, your ad creative connects and engages with the right people at a time in their buyer journey when they need to hear it most. This means going beyond your target market's standard demographics and interests and understanding the psychology behind their buying choices. 

Marketing psychology: understanding consumer behavior  

Marketing psychology will give your brand more insight into what influences your consumer's behaviors and purchasing decisions most, allowing you to appeal to those needs and problems more efficiently.  

This includes learning more about:  

  • Problems to be solved  
  • Personality  
  • Behaviors  
  • Lifestyle   
  • Values  

This data will provide a better look into your ideal customer's needs, so your brand can target and resolve them more effectively than the competition.   

Check Out Your Competitors  

Screen Shot 2021-10-05 at 10.30.12 AMSpeaking of competition, your competitors are likely to have the target market you want, so it's important to check them out amidst your target audience research. Understanding where your competitors' target markets are will give you an idea of where yours is as well. It can take a lot of time and effort to find your audience — checking out the competition can cut that time in half.  

Again, you're going to want to ask yourself a few questions in this process: 

  • Where do your competitors advertise? Chances are, your competition (preferably industry leaders) is already targeting the right consumers and has data to support their advertising efforts. Knowing where they've decided to advertise will be an excellent first step into the direction of where your brand will be more successful at advertising to your audience. Use their efforts as a guide until you build enough of your own data to influence your future decisions. 
  • What kinds of tactics do your competitors use to connect with audiences? You'll also want to know which tactics they take advantage of most. This will tell you which ones best reach and resonate with your audience (i.e., content, email marketing, social media, etc.). From here, you'll want to gather your own data on what's working best and deserves the most marketing attention. 

Reach Your Target Audience With A Media Partner 

It's no secret that target audience demographics and research take a lot of time to collect and put to good use. After all, if it were easy, everyone would have perfected it by now. Fortunately, you don't have to go at it alone when you work with a media partner with a team of experienced experts on the topic. This way, you can rest assured that you'll have an excellent outcome for planning and strategizing marketing to your target audience. 

New call-to-action