How Do You Define Your Brand’s Target Audience?

What is a target audience? What are examples of target audiences? Once defined, how do you reach your target audience? At HatchMark Studio, we have a brand-first approach to marketing for all of our clients. That means that we’ve seen a lot of brand clients come through who are struggling to find their target audiences and target markets. In this article, we will help define what a target audience is, how you can define the target audience for your brand, and how you can reach your target audience through different marketing channels.

What Is a Target Audience?

A target audience is essentially a group of consumers or potential customers who want to buy your product or service. For example, if you sell diapers, your target market would be parents with babies who wear diapers. From there, you would drill down deeper to get your target audience. Let’s say you sell high-end, premium diapers. If that’s the case, your target audience would be parents with diaper-age babies who are in a high-income bracket and are known to splurge on higher-quality items. The inverse would be true if you were selling budget-friendly or discount diapers. It seems easy enough, but it can get complicated, especially if you are a company that is selling a range of goods and services to several audiences.

Defining Your Brand’s Target Audience in 5 Easy Steps

Now that we have a handle on the definition of a target audience, it’s time to figure out how we develop one for a brand. Whether you work in tandem with a branding agency or host an internal brainstorm session with your company’s key stakeholders, it’s important to bring a collaborative approach to the table with a wide range of perspectives and specialty areas to yield the best results.

Step 1: Identify Your Product

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not as easy as it sounds for some companies. For instance, Disney World isn’t selling tickets to a theme park; they are selling magical memories with families and, for many people, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Start by laying out what product or service your company is selling. Then, determine what problem each product is solving. If you’re selling a cheap hamburger in a drive-thru, the problem you’re solving is feeding hungry people who have limited money and not a lot of time to spare in the day. Keep repeating this exercise until you feel like you have a firm grasp on your products and services.

Step 2: Identify Your Competitors

Most products and services will have direct competition. McDonald’s has a direct competitor in Burger King. The two personal injury lawyers in your hometown are in direct competition with each other. In each case, both companies are selling essentially the same goods or services. A quick Google search should be just enough to compile a list of who is competing with you for the same share of the market. If it helps, you can even categorize these out further into silos, such as identifying which businesses you think are your equals and which ones you think could be aspirational. Pro tip: you’re going to want to continuously check in on your competition. Follow them on social media. Bookmark their website. You can even go to their place of business to see what they’re doing. The point we’re trying to make here is that…things change. What you saw your competitor doing five years ago is probably not what they’re doing today. Keep tabs on them!

Step 3: Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition

Now that you’ve done the research to identify your competitors, it’s time to figure out what it is that makes you stand out from them. The truth is, even two businesses selling the same product are doing things differently. Think about it this way: most towns have more than one taco stand with a menu that looks and sounds the same. However, one has a line out the door and the other barely has any customers. Is one of them making their tortillas fresh daily? Maybe it’s the quality of the proteins and the cooking methods that is making the difference. Whatever it is, it’s what sets one business apart from the other. Sit down and find out what your homemade tortilla is. What is your business doing slightly differently than your competitor? Once you find it, highlight it and underline it because you’re going to need it.

Step 4: Identify Your Brand Persona

Every brand or business has customers. As a business owner, you can probably describe the type of customer who walks through your doors or buys your products. Whether it’s their age, gender, race, or tax bracket, start putting pen to paper to come up with a person who can act as the ideal buyer of your service. You can even give this person a name and a backstory. This is a fun exercise to do with a group. Some brands will have more than one brand persona since there are different ways brands and businesses add value to their customers. For example, a beach hotel might cater to both families with kids and newlywed couples with no kids. Both groups are coming to the same hotel, but they are looking for different amenities. This is where audience segmenting and knowing who you’re targeting with a certain campaign becomes increasingly important.

Step 5: Target Your Target Audience

If you’re wondering how to reach your target audience, there are more ways than we can list in one article. The important part is that you need to come back to all of the work you’ve done so far every time you go to put together a piece of marketing or collateral. Thinking of putting together a new social post and boosting it? Make sure you’re considering your target audience from the content you choose to the parameters you put around your paid campaign. Want to send through ideas for a billboard design to your graphic designer? The content should be leveraging your unique selling proposition and be designed specifically to resonate with your target audience. From here, you can rinse and repeat.

Final Thoughts on Defining Your Brand’s Target Audience

This is certainly not a one-and-done approach to your brand. You will need to revisit this every year as your brand, product, or business changes. Also, the world around your business changes. Economically. Socially. You name it. We’re living in a fast-paced society with fleeting moments and shrinking attention spans. The more you put into researching your target audiences, the more you will be rewarded.

Let Us Help

Still have questions? Need help getting started with identifying your target audience? Partnering with an agency can get the ball rolling in a room full of brand experts who can help you unlock the power of collaboration. Contact us today to find out more about how a partnership with HatchMark Studio can help you get to the next step.