The Importance of Understanding Your Target Audience
By Julia Koh & Syira Junaidi
As an important element of your brand, the target audience helps your brand identify who to sell to and focus your resources towards a specified group of shared values. Whether you’re a B2C or a B2B business, your brand should have a well-defined target audience before you can begin strategising and planning your success.
But what if my brand fits everybody? Do I still need to narrow down a group of audience?
You might think stuff like instant noodles, rice, bread, hand sanitisers and other essential items are products that everyone needs. So, do we still need branding for necessity, everyday items that everyone uses?
Well, the point of branding is to sell your products or services.
Especially for essential goods, there are so many other competitor brands making the same products. Customers are also getting more finicky and rise-averse in trying out brands that are new to them. And competition is getting tougher. Branding can help get you out of that cut-throat world and find your own niche of speciality and customers.
Did you know that even the humble loaf of bread needs a strategic brand to compete with other bread brands?
Take a look at Gardenia vs Massimo vs Mighty White vs dozens of bread loaf brands on the shelves. How are they different from one another and what kind of customers are they trying to attract?
Gardenia might go for the ‘soft white bread’ that can be eaten on its own, like how their tagline summarises it. Meanwhile, Massimo goes for ‘the Italian-inspired bread’ that will make a great sandwich. Their target audience can differ because their branding is different. Gardenia’s customers might be Malaysian families where bread is an optional staple food aside from rice and noodles. Massimo’s customers, on the other hand, could be adults who want a healthier bread that goes well with sandwiches and meals.
So, you see. Everything needs a brand and a target audience.
We use customer segmentation as a way to divide the population into groups based on common characteristics like age or occupation. Companies can target multiple customer segments, but each segment would need a different message and approach because each of them has different needs and wants.
Knowing who your customers are is not just a demographics question; age, ethnicity, language-spoken or occupation. It is no doubt essential and it should be a very basic type of segmentation. But what’s more important is adding to their personality traits, habits, motivations, and values. We call this set of attributes a psychographic segmentation and they group your customers on a deeper level rather than superficial traits.
Segmenting your customers into distinctive target audiences can reap great benefits for your brand. Research methods such as focus groups and surveys are fast and popular ways to dive deep into understanding your target audience and what they need.
You can build a target audience persona that includes demographic and psychographic attributes to quickly understand your target audience at a glance. Then it becomes easier for your brand to fit into their daily lives. Once you have a target audience and buyer persona, you’re set to put them through your branding and marketing actions, including FB ads, web design, PR materials, and so many more.
Article updated on June 2020 to keep content fresh and relevant.