Blog / Defining your target audience – A guide for your target audience definition
Defining your target audience – A guide for your target audience definition
Maurice – August 8, 2023 – 10 min read
Defining the target group is an important point when designing a website, a product or an online marketing measure. But what exactly is a target group? And how to define it correctly? In this guide, we explain what matters when defining your target group and give tips on how to optimize your target group identification.
Because if you don’t know your target group, you’re doomed to appeal to no one. Every word, every idea and every euro invested then simply sinks into the sand.
What is a target group?
A target group is a specific, predefined group of people that a company wants to reach in order to position its products or services. Various factors such as age, gender, interests or income are decisive for the composition of a target group.
But why is it so important to know and define your target group in the first place?
3 reasons why it is important to know your target groups
There are several reasons why it’s important to know your target audiences intimately. If you know them, …
- … your marketing efforts become more efficient
- … your campaigns will be more successful
- … your wallet will be fuller
After all, if you know exactly who you’re addressing, it’s much easier to write an enticing speech. After all, you then know the needs, goals, fears, dreams and desires of your ideal customers and can align your message with those emotional triggers.
This will also make your campaigns more successful, after all, you can better narrow your advertising reach and convert the people you reach even easier. After all, we all feel we can trust someone who knows us and speaks to us on the level of our needs.
All of this ultimately leads to you saving more money. After all, by clearly defining your target audience, you’re using your resources much more efficiently.
But how can you define your own target group?
What factors play a role in determining the target group?
When determining your target audience, there are a few factors to consider. These include:
- sociodemographic factors
- psychographic factors
- media-specific factors
- factors specific to buying behavior
And all these factors are composed of the following characteristics:
- Marital status
- Education level
- How and when?
- Intensive users
- First-time buyers
- Existing customer
- Indiv. Price sensitivity
At the beginning, a target group must always be roughly delimited and on this path, the classification according to socio-demographic characteristics is the easiest and fastest step. It’s about finding customers who can afford and want their own products and have a fundamental need for the product.
The more accurate the data used for this classification, the better the customer group can be narrowed down.
Another way to define your target audience is psychographic characteristics. To find them, you try to figure out what moves your potential customers on an individual level. It’s about knowing their desires, fears and goals.
Because only if you know about it, you can determine what your customer group is interested in. For this, you need to know the answers to the following questions:
- What does your own customer group advocate?
- What do the political opponents of your own customer group look like?
- What are the emotional enemies of the customer group in this area?
- What product-related fears does the customer group harbor?
- What objections are driving your customer group?
- What is important to the customer group in life?
- Is there anything that your customer group is oriented towards?
Media specific features
Another way to define your target audience is by media-specific characteristics. Because ultimately, every medium influences the messages we want to send to a significant degree. After all, media or channels influence us simply through their characteristics and content.
If you only look at the differences between Facebook and Instagram for this, as well as the differences in the main users on these platforms, you can immediately see how important the medium is also for the structure of the marketing message.
For example, if you want to target people who are interested in news about the latest technologies, you can segment your customer group based on media-specific characteristics.
The following questions can be asked to narrow down the media behavior of one’s own target group:
- Which channels do customers use to obtain information?
- Which channels are used to communicate with customers?
- Which channels do customers trust most?
- How are customers least likely to be approached?
- On average, how long do your customers want to be talked to?
- Through which channels does a customer make a purchase?
Purchasing behavior-specific characteristics
What do you ultimately want from your target audience?
Well, that it makes a purchase from you and ideally more than once. That’s why the buying behavior of your customer group is so critical. If, for example, this is composed of impulsive buyers, eternally long explanations and explanations will only bore them.
And if you know exactly how your target audience prefers to buy, you can change your offer accordingly, perhaps multiplying your total sales.
The following questions can be asked to narrow down the buying behavior of your own target group:
- When does a customer usually buy?
- Why does a customer buy this product?
- How often does the customer request the service (buy the product)?
- How much is a customer willing to pay?
These 4 feature categories will help you to target your campaigns even more and thus reach your customers even better.
But how do you actually get the information you need to make grouping easier?
How do I get relevant information for my targeting?
The most frequently asked question in marketing is probably the following: What are the needs of my target group and how can I best reach them?
A crucial question, but where to find the necessary information to answer it? There are several methods to help you get to know your target audience better. We have selected 4 for the beginning:
1. the persona approach
The persona approach is a very popular way to get to know your target audience better. In this method, you create fictional characters that represent your ideal customer. To do this, you answer questions about their age, gender, occupation, interests, and needs.
2. the focus group interview
The focus group interview is a qualitative research method in which a group of people are interviewed about a specific topic. This method is especially good if you want to find out more about the needs and motivations of your customer group.
3. the survey
The survey is a quantitative method of market research that allows you to collect data from a large number of people. With this method, you can find out, for example, what percentage of your target group is actually interested in your product.
4. social media monitoring
Social media monitoring is a very effective way to conduct market research. With this method, you observe and analyze the behavior of your addressees on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. For example, you can find out which topics are currently relevant for your customer group.
But how do you determine your own customer group with all this information?
8 steps to target group identification
We believe that a target group definition should be as practical as possible and therefore, whenever we define target groups for ourselves or a client, we are guided by the following 8 steps:
- Target definition
- Data Analysis
- Persona creation
1- Target definition
The first step is to think about what you want to accomplish with your marketing efforts. What are your goals? More turnover? Better brand awareness? A higher level of customer loyalty? Once your goals are then established, you can consider which customer group would be best suited to achieve those goals.
2 – Delimitation
After you have formulated your goals, it’s time to get a little more specific: To which target customer do you want to sell your product or service? Try to be as specific as possible in your answers. The more detailed your approach, the easier it will be for you to find the right approach for the individual target group.
To do this, differentiate your target groups from the rest of the market based on socio-demographic characteristics.
We can help with the following questions:
- What do my competitors’ customers look like?
- Which groups can afford my product?
- Who would I most like to sell to in my mind?
- What do my current customers look like?
However, these questions should only serve as orientation and will be examined in more detail in the next step.
3 – Research
In fact, before you proceed with the exact definition of your target groups, it is important that you do an in-depth research regarding your potential customers. This includes, for example, finding out where they get their information from or what needs they have that are not yet being met by your competitors.
One way to find out more about your potential customers is to conduct customer surveys. Because these give you the opportunity to find out more about their needs and desires and gain insight into their buying behavior.
To do this, as an example, you could run ads on social media, ask for people to fill out a questionnaire, and offer a lead magnet as a reward.
In addition to customer surveys, however, monitoring in social media is also a valuable tool for target group research. Using various tools, you can track what topics are being discussed on social media and how your consumers feel about certain topics.
However, research does not stop with this step; in fact, it is a critical component of each step.
4 – Characterization
Now that you know a little more, however, you need to narrow down your target audience more precisely; a gray mass should become a colorful bunch of individuals in this step.
After all, the better you know your target audiences and their preferences, the easier it will be for you to find out what they really want. You can actually combine this step with your customer surveys or simply survey already qualified leads directly by mail.
On the other hand, you can also use so-called secondary data sources to get a picture of the needs and desires of your target group. These include annual reports, market studies or articles from trade journals.
Basically, though, this step is about defining the psychographic characteristics and thinking a bit about the media-specific characteristics.
5 – Data analysis
Once you have collected all the relevant data and facts, it’s time to analyze them to draw concrete conclusions. Only then can you start to define your target group more precisely.
This step is about separating the wheat from the chaff. Re-check all information and use only that which appears to be of value even on a second look. This step should help sharpen one’s judgment, as first choices may often have been influenced by cognitive bias without this data-based knowledge.
6 – Persona creation
To offer your target group exactly what they are looking for, it can be helpful to create so-called buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional characters that represent a specific subgroup of your target audience in a concrete way.
When developing buyer personas, it is important to pay attention to the following points:
- Use real data: The more realistic your buyer personas are, the easier it will be for you to identify with them later. Use data from surveys or interviews you’ve conducted with members of your target audience.
- Give your buyer persona a name and a face: A name and a face make your buyer persona more concrete and memorable, so look for appropriate photos of real people who represent your target audience.
- Describe your buyer personas in detail: When describing your user profile, pay attention to both the external and internal characteristics. These include, for example, age, gender, profession and interests, but on the other hand also personality traits such as motivators or values.
Never forget this important 6th step when further defining your target audience, because the images this creates in your mind will make focusing easier down the road.
To help you formulate your Buyer Persona, we will refer you to our article on creating a Buyer Persona later on.
7 – Address
Now that you know your target audiences inside and out and have created the various personas, it’s time to tailor your marketing efforts to their interests.
To do this, create content that appeals to them, use the channels they’re active on, and solve the problems they have. If you do, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business goals.
We have also written another article about the right speech (Copywriting Article Speech/Tone of Voice).
8 – Iteration
After you’ve defined your target audience as precisely as possible, it’s important to test your approach and see how it works in practice.
In the course of this process you should make adjustments every now and then, because unfortunately the perfect and forever valid target group does not exist and consumer behavior changes quickly in our modern world.
For this reason, the old growth marketing mantra also applies to the right target group definition: test, test and test.
All well and good, but when should you redefine your target audience?
When to redefine your target audience
The target group can change over time as described previously – for example, if a product is positioned differently or the target group itself changes. In such cases, it is necessary to redefine your target groups in order to adapt the marketing strategy to the new circumstances.
Basically, there are three common scenarios that entail redefining your target audiences:
- Consumer behavior is changing in measurable ways: one example would be the increased online purchasing due to the advent of the Internet
- The product changes fundamentally: Lamborghini switches from tractors to luxury cars
- The entire market is changing: fewer luxury watches are bought in times of crisis, so many suppliers are changing their marketing and positioning the watch as an investment item
Examples for the definition of target groups
In life, everything becomes clearer through examples, so we will show you the target groups of well-known companies:
The target group of Zara
Zara is a Spanish clothing retailer that offers fashionable and affordable clothing for women, men and children.
Their target audience consists of fashion-conscious people who are looking for good quality at a reasonable price.
The target group of Nike
Nike is an American sportswear company that designs, manufactures and distributes footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories.
Their target audience is people who are interested in sports and want to buy high quality products.
The target group of TikTok
TikTok is a Chinese group whose target audience is the youngest of the young.
That’s why TikTok motivates its creators to design videos for low attention spans, packed with motion and entertainment. Something that resonates well with uncritical minds.
But how do B2C and B2B target groups actually differ?
Target group analysis in B2C marketing
As a rule, we distinguish between different target groups in B2C marketing. Depending on the product, these can be very different. To make it easier for you, we have compiled the most important target group features for you:
- Social status
Depending on the product, not all factors need to be considered. It is often sufficient to look at one or two characteristics of the target group. It’s important that as a business owner or marketer, you know your target audiences well. Only then can you offer the right products, advertise optimally and communicate with potential customers in an appropriate way.
To be able to assign a target group to your product at all, you must first know your product. As a rule of thumb, it is easier to define the target group for a new product than for an existing one. That’s because you can start from scratch with a new product and not have to consider the opinions or needs of existing customers.
Everything else is then done according to the 8 measures described above.
Target group analysis in B2B marketing
In B2B marketing, the target group is often more precisely defined than in B2C marketing. This is because in B2B marketing and sales, the products or service are usually sold only to companies that have a specific need for them.
The most important target group characteristics in B2B marketing and sales are
- Company size
- Company location
As in B2C marketing, it is important that you know your target groups well in order to offer them the right products and communicate with them in an appropriate way.
To redefine your target audiences for an existing product, you can start by looking at existing customer data. If you want to determine the target groups for a new product, you can have your sales department conduct surveys or analyze your customer data.
Again, the steps described above are important and helpful. In B2B marketing, however, you should always remember that different decision makers are involved in the sales process and this should also show in the design of your personas.
Conclusion: The goal is to define the group
Yes yes, I know, all very tedious, but is it worth it? In fact, I used to be skeptical too when I was told about market segmentation, target audience definition, and personas….
Over the years, however, I’ve been privileged to learn the benefits of these admittedly slow methods for a wide variety of marketing efforts.
In fact, most of the time, target group analysis holds unprecedented benefits for your advertising, marketing, and thus your overall market. Advantages that only come into play if you really take a structured approach to your target group description.
And the best part, of course, is that you save yourself cash. First of all, your potential clients are approached in a much more fitting way, and secondly, you are much less likely to approach people with your offer who would never buy anything from you.
All in all, it makes more than sense to define your target group in a structured process at least once and exactly for this we have worked on a comprehensive template for you.