A target audience is the intended audience or readership of a publication, advertisement, or other message. In marketing and advertising, it is a particular group of consumers within the predetermined target market. identified as the targets or recipients for a particular advertisement or message.
A target audience is formed from the same factors as a target market, but it is more specific, and is susceptible to influence from other factors
Defining the difference between a target market and a target audience comes down to the difference between marketing and advertising. In marketing, a market is targeted by business strategies, whilst advertisements and media, such as television shows, music and print media, are more effectively used to appeal to a target audience. A potential strategy to appeal to a target audience would be advertising toys during the morning children’s TV programs, rather than during the evening news broadcast.
A target market is a select group of potential or current consumers, which a business decides to aim its marketing and advertising strategies at in order to sell a product or service. Defining a ‘target market’ is the first stage in the marketing strategy of a business, and is a process of market segmentation.
Determining the target audience
A business must identify and understand its target audience if their marketing campaign is to be successful. It allows the business to craft their products or services to the wants and needs of customers, in order to maximize sales and therefore revenue.
To determine the target audience, the business must first identify what problem their product or service solves, or what need or want it fulfills. The problem must be one that consumers are aware of and thus will be interested in solving.
Demographic information involves statistical aspects of consumers such as gender, ethnicity, income, qualification and marital status. Demographic information is important to the business because it gives a basic background of the customers the business is intending to aim its marketing campaign at. This helps them to judge on a basic level how to communicate effectively with who they have identified as the target audience. Demographics are key because they provide the foundation of who the business will be targeting.
Psychographics is the use of sociological, psychological and anthropological factors, as well as consumer behavior, style of living and self-concept to determine how different market segment groups make decisions about a philosophy, person or product. Psychographic information can be utilized by the business to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer groups they intend to target, by analyzing the more intimate details of the consumer’s lifestyle and thinking processes so as to gain an understanding of their preferences.
Consumer behavior is the purchase decision process, what influences their purchase decision, what purposes they use the purchased good for, and their responses and attitudes to the product. When determining their target audience, a business must examine consumer behavior trends. Behavioral trends could include online purchasing instead of in-store purchasing, or modern consumers purchasing a new smartphone annually. They should then select a segment of consumers whose behavior aligns with the functionality and purpose of the product to be the intended audience for a marketing campaign. Target consumers can be identified by businesses as they will indicate that there is a demand for the product by their behavioral signals.
Geographic information is essentially where the customer is located and is vital to the business when they are determining their target audience. This is because customers located in different geographic areas are going to encounter different things that influence their purchase decisions. These can be any number of things, including resources, cultures, and climates, which can cause their behavior, psychographic information and influences to differ with those who are in same demographic but are geographically distant. For example, a city or area with a heavy drinking culture will encounter high liquor sales, whereas a city or area with a minimal drinking culture will experience low liquor sales. Each country has consumers of the same demographic, but due to the cultural influence of the geographical area, their purchase decisions are different.
A basic example of a consumer profile is: males aged 35–40 who live in the US and have a university-level education (demographic), are a sociable extrovert from a top-middle economic class and live an active lifestyle (psychographic), lives in Nashville, Tennessee (geographic) and makes small and frequent purchases without considering the product’s brand (behavioural). This profile will allow the business to tailor their marketing campaign to attract specific consumers.
Once the business has gathered data from consumers about their demographic, psychographic, geographic and behavioral situations, they can analyze this and use it to identify a rough target audience. This can be refined by the analysis of competitors’ processes and targets, allowing the business to formulate a more segmented target audience. Then the segmented target audience can be refined into a clear objective of which consumers the business is targeting, thus creating the specific target audience for a marketing campaign.
A lifestyle is defined as “a person’s pattern of behavior” which is closely related to a consumer’s personality and values. The lifestyle of a customer is often determined by purchasing behavior and product preference. This gives marketers an understanding of what type of lifestyle consumers live. A lifestyle is defined with three main sections: activities, interests, and opinions.
Strategies for reaching target audiences
Reaching a target audience is a staged process, started by the selection of the sector of the target market. A successful appeal to a target audience requires a detailed media plan, which involves many factors in order to achieve an effective campaign.
While target markets are marketed to with business strategies, the use of advertising and other media tools is what makes marketing to target audiences a more effective way of appealing to a select group of individuals. The effectiveness of a target audience campaign is dependent on how well the company knows their market; this can include details such as behaviours, incentives, cultural differences and societal expectations.
Following through a media plan requires attention at every stage, and requires a range of factors to be considered. In order, these include:
- Media types
- Media tactics
- Media vehicles
- Media units
- Media schedule
- Media promotions
- Media logistics
- Contingency plans
- Budget and integrated marketing
A thoroughly followed, planned and implemented media plan is required to achieve outright success in a campaign.
Effective marketing consists of identifying the appropriate target audience, and being able to appoint the correct marketing strategy in order to reach and influence them. Four key targeting strategies largely used within businesses are; undifferentiated (mass) marketing, differentiated (segmented) marketing, concentrated (niche) marketing, and lastly micro (local or individual) marketing.
Strategies for reaching target markets
Marketers have outlined four basic strategies to satisfy target markets: undifferentiated marketing or mass marketing, differentiated marketing, concentrated marketing, and micromarketing/ nichemarketing.
Mass marketing is a market coverage strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences and go after the whole market with one offer. It is type of marketing (or attempting to sell through persuasion) of a product to a wide audience. The idea is to broadcast a message that will reach the largest number of people possible. Traditionally mass marketing has focused on radio, television and newspapers as the medium used to reach this broad audience.
For sales teams, one way to reach out to target markets is through direct marketing
Target audiences are formed from different groups, for example: adults, teens, children, mid-teens, preschoolers, men, or women.
To market to any given audience effectively, it is essential to become familiar with your target market; their habits, behaviors, likes, and dislikes. Markets differ in size, assortment, geographic scale, locality, types of communities, and in the different types of merchandise sold. Because of the many variations included in a market it is essential, since you cannot accommodate everyone’s preferences, to know exactly who you are marketing to.
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