This is the second post in a series of 5, on vital components of an effective marketing plan. See the first one here If I had a bottle of beer for every time I was told by a business owner that the target market for their brand was everyone I would be a little bit drunk a lot of the time! Now, usually, the reason for a business wanting to target everyone is that they don’t want to miss out on any section of the population that might want to buy their brand, but experience shows that we must focus on a primary target audience in order to have any significant impact. Other audiences may be targeted to a lesser degree, but having a defined customer to aim for has been proven to be the most successful approach. Why? Because the more relevant you are to your audience, the more likely that your message and offer will cut through and a sale will be made! Here are 5 points to consider when developing a profile of your target audience: 1. The basics first – start by selecting via age, gender, geographical location, income and family set up. 2. Then we can get nosier – think about what interests your target consumer has e.g. sport, music, birdwatching. What are their concerns – what worries them? Later on you can think about how your brand could possibly help them cope with their worries. Have a think about what your audience does in his or her social life. I find it really useful to sketch out a typical day / week in the target market’s life – include the mundane and the treats. Trips to the hairdresser, gossiping with the neighbours, going to the gym – you’d be surprised at what opportunities to connect with them will crop up during this exercise! 3. It’s very useful to determine your target market’s media consumption. TV viewing – what programmes would they never miss out on? Online habits – are they Facebook junkies or social media scaredy cats? Radio – all day background listening to local station or active participant in chat radio debates? Does your customer read an actual paper newspaper or just pick up odds and sods online? Magazines still engender incredible loyalty – which ones might your customer read regularly? 4. Your customer is not always your consumer – remember that the person who actually purchases your brand or product is not always the same person who consumes it. In this case, it’s important for you to determine who the actual decision maker is. Is it the child refusing to eat anything but your brand of spaghetti? It’s important to recognise and address the needs of both – they can each be put off by a misguided message. 5. Give your customer a name. It helps to conjure up an image of the real person you are communicating with and to decide whether a message or campaign will work or not – “What would our Hannah think of that?” Remember to always respect your target market. You, as a person, don’t need to share all of their views, tastes or interests but you need very much to understand them and your brand needs to share them. David Ogilvy famously said “The customer is not a moron. The customer is your wife.” Well, yes, he should have said “or husband” too, but you get the drift. So many brand owners de-humanise their customers, when it’s well known that the more we can engage with them, as real people, the more long-lasting success we’ll enjoy. What are your thoughts?