Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Determining the target audience, part of Foundations of Layout and Composition: Marketing Collateral.
Quite often I'll ask a new client who their audience is. And they'll answer everyone. Unfortunately everyone's a little broad. And probably not true. Every client or organization has a defined audience. And it's your job to track down who they are. Targeting a specific market does not mean saying no to others. It is a way to use resources as efficiently as possible to get the most bang for the buck. The alternative to this, more surgical approach, is the marketing term spray and pray.
When I want to have a better understanding of the audience, I asked who is your existing customer? Is that the customer you want? Who does your closest competitor target? In five years, do you want to maintain the current audience or change it? I define the audience with simple demographics. Age, gender, location, income level, occupation, and ethnicity. I also look at something a little fuzzier. What are their values, goals, and fears.
What is their personality and lifestyle. Values can encompass political and cultural issues. Printing a lavish brochure with gold engraving will not be successful if the audience is deeply concerned about sustainability. Goals and fears help me focus on a message and alleviate any negative concerns. Understanding the personality and lifestyle helps me determine the tone of copy and imagery. An irreverent and comical approach is probably wrong for an audience using a high end financial planner.
For example, if my client is an expensive luxury brand, I would obviously focus on people who could afford the product and value quality or status. Now, I know that the materials I create cannot ever be cheap or flimsy. And must have the perception of excellence. However, the current audience may to be the correct one. I had a client with a strong target base of urban professionals between 45 and 70. Unfortunately there was no attempt to grow the market to include younger people. So the audience aged.
Five years later to between 55 and 70. Clearly, the trend was a slowly disappearing base. This told me to find solutions to include younger professionals, with the correct materials such as email and online resources. I know this is a complex issue. Nobody expects you to do focus group testing. The best solution is to sit down with your client for an hour and really work to define who the audience is.
- Deciding on the media for your message
- Defining your target audience
- Setting the budget
- Writing and placing copy
- Choosing paper and printing
- Formatting a brochure
- Designing letterhead, business cards, and envelopes
- Creating posters and media kits
- Designing specialty items like holiday cards