Knowing your Audience
Ever had to write a school paper and the professor said that you “needed to know your audience?”. Maybe it was your content, your tone, or your format of the paper. You might have made good points, including lots of complex facts and figures. But if your paper was intended to explain something simple to a sixth-grade class rather than your college peers, the high quality of your paper has no value. If your audience doesn’t understand what you are trying to say, the effort you put into a project goes unnoticed. The same problem happens in business.
All of the money spent on ads and analytics is wasted unless you know and understand your audience. Businesses struggle sometimes when they attempt to advertise in markets where their product or service has no benefit to the market’s consumers. By targeting an audience compatible with your good or service, you are increasing the return on investment for your company. While analyzing demographics is not an exact science, basing your marketing strategies off of the people buying your product creates a better business-consumer interaction. Taking simple steps to learn how demographics influence a company is an easy way to generate profit and to engage with customers.
Perhaps the best example of innovative marketing strategies is a well-known and extremely profitable company, McDonald’s. Explained in the book Fast Food Nation, the fast food corporation was the first company to market directly to children, rather than adults, with the mascot Ronald McDonald, TV commercials on kids networks, and the construction of playgrounds in its stores. The company knew that by selling to kids, they would be able to sell to parents too. It may be sinister, but from a business standpoint, the strategy was certainly innovative and accurate in targeting a specific market.
So, how can you achieve the same success in your business? Really take a look at your demographics and figure out who exactly is interacting with your company. Getting certified in Google Analytics, or hiring someone already certified, is a great way to do this. Are your advertisements reaching the “right” people in the “right” places? If your product is pet food, are your commercials playing before Youtube videos about dogs, previewing before a movie about cats, or during a show on Animal Planet? Or are these commercials playing before beauty videos or action movies? If you invest your time trying to reach every single consumer in every single market, you aren’t trying to convince people loyal to competitors to switch to your brand. That’s why businesses have to specify exactly who they are marketing to before they launch a campaign. Consider age, geographical region, interests, devices, and other things like current events to tailor your campaign to the market. What kind of person is buying your product? Change your campaign accordingly to engage with these customers more.
If you already have a handle on how to set yourself apart from competitors in one field, consider expanding into similar but untapped markets. Let’s assume you’re a tech company. You and your competitors target small businesses who are buying new equipment for their start-ups. You have established brand loyalty with most of these companies in your area. How do you expand? By looking at the demographics of the people using your business, you realize that many of these startups are in big cities. You could build another office in places like New Orleans or Nashville, and provide services for new customers that your competitors haven’t even thought about. Staying innovative, instead of staying comfortable, keeps a business going.
Let’s take the same tech company. Now you’ve expanded to other big cities, and many startups have used your company to buy equipment and deal with maintenance. What else can you do? Because you’ve developed a great interaction with your clients, they’ve mentioned that some of the larger businesses in the area are looking for a company that is able to refurbish old equipment and install software. Though you haven’t dealt with bigger corporations, you know your company can handle clients with many employees. You’ve expanded into another market similar to the one you originally advertised in. By knowing your audience, you were able to modify your services to fit the client and not the other way around. That’s what makes your business successful, thinking outside the box.