Target Audience has become one of those marketing terms that many use and few can consistently define. It has taken on multiple meanings, and business people bandy it around like it was the panacea to all of their business woes. If only we could pinpoint our target audience—you know demographics and stuff. On the other end, some marketers have made it so complicated that only those trained in some form of esoteric analytics (such as the service they offer for a small fee) can make sense of it. If you have the means to hire one of these gurus, go for it, but if not, let’s try a simplified approach.

3 Steps to the target

Define the problems you solve. Who do you help and how do you help them? Too often when companies look for their target audience, they focus on the features of their product or service. Forget about the features, how does your product benefit the client? What does it do for them? When you can answer that, you’ll know who needs your product.

Describe your customer. Once you know whose problem you solve, you can glean an understanding of who they are. For example, a residential heating and air conditioning provider that offers 24-hour service solves the problem of a furnace dying at the stroke of midnight, in the middle of winter, on Sunday. Obviously, homeowners are a target audience, but what else can be learned? What are the statistics for the life expectancy of HVAC equipment? According to this Frigidaire study, the average life of a furnace is 20 years, air conditioning 16 years, and a heat pump lasts on average 14 year. Homeowners with a 14 to 20-year-old home are a target audience.

What’s your niche? The answers to these four questions will help you define your target audiences.

  • What are you great at?
  • What sets you apart?
  • What’s your expertise?
  • What can you do better than anyone else?

This isn’t target practice

Or better yet it’s not fishing. You’re not just throwing a line in the water to see what bites, are you? Because if you are that’s not a plan that’s a hope. You need to understand your target audience, know what problems you solve, and who has those problems before a plan can be made. Once you know that, you’re on your way. Of course, the next step is reaching them, but that’s another post.