Target audience analysis - How to get to know your audience

To succeed well with marketing, you need to know your target market, what appeals to them and make them react and act according to your wishes. But how do you get to know your target audience? The answer is target group analysis, and preferably as part of the ongoing analysis work. A common mistake is that you try to reach and process an overly broad audience with the same material. This is often the result of limited budgets, it is expensive to process a large audience. But with the help of an audience analysis, you can get to know your audience and get an understanding of how you should communicate with it. Although there is no budget for a plethora of tailored material in your marketing, it is possible to use small funds to customize the communication for the target group, making your marketing more accurate and effective.

Step-by-step target audience analysis

Depending on the product/service a company provides, the size of the target group may vary considerably. We usually define the target group as "Everyone who may be interested in the company's product/service" which can result in the fact that it is believed that almost the entire population can be classified as one's target group. Such a broad audience will probably not react the same to your marketing. So to customize your material for your target audience, we need to create smaller audiences within the large group. But first, come to terms with why you should do this work. Having a clear purpose and goal makes it easier to carry out the analysis work.

Step 1 - Create groups within your audience

Which groups can be found within the broad audience? Try to find relationships and similarities in smaller groups. Here it is also good to think about which smaller groups within the large one primarily wants to communicate with.

To define the smaller groups, one can take help from slightly different issues, below are some examples of questions you can discuss:

  • Who buys the product/service today?
  • Why and how often do you buy the product?
  • How is knowledge/interest created for the product/service?
  • Are there any that affect the purchase decision?
  • What content engage the group?

Step 2 - Find out everything you can about the groups

We often know more about our audiences than we think. It is best to start by writing down everything we know about our audiences and then see where we lack information.

Some tools and methods we can use in the analysis work to find out information about our target groups are eg. Google Analytics, social media's own analysis tools, surveys, focus groups, interviews, statistics from, for example, Swedes and the Internet and Statistics Sweden.

When it comes to surveys, interviews and focus groups, it is important to have proper preparation. Make sure you have a thorough query battery in place before you take contact. Be sure to ask open questions and think about it so that the questions will provide as much answers as possible to the questions you have and the gaps in the information that you need to cover.

Another good use for focus groups is to test different types of marketing materials that you plan to use. An excellent opportunity to get input about what thoughts and reactions the material arouses in your target group.

Step 3 - Compile the result

By now you hopefully have a lot of information about your target groups. So now it is a matter of compiling the results. Be sure to make the compilations structured and clear so that everyone who will receive the information can easily understand, among other things:

  1. What target groups you have
  2. How the target groups differ
  3. Where the target groups are located
  4. Priority of the target groups
  5. The material to be used for the different target groups, tonality and design language.

Once the results are compiled and everyone has taken note of it, it's time to implement their adjustments. The conditions for working with targeted content are of course different in different channels. But a tip is to start working targeted in your social media, where the conditions are good and the costs of producing materials are not too great.

Step 4 - Follow-up

Like all other work, this also needs to be followed up, evaluated and optimized. After a completed campaign, it is an excellent opportunity to review how the material and messages you have used have performed. Did your audiences receive the material the way you intended? Was there any target group where the result surprised and if so, what could be the reason for this? Reconnect to the purpose and goal of conducting the analysis from the very beginning, how did the campaign perform according to the target group analysis in terms of previous campaigns? It's also interesting to compare how the audience reacted to the campaign with how the focus groups reacted, to gain insight into how well the focus group matches the audience.

After the follow-up, it is not at all uncommon to gain new insights about your target groups and that you need to adjust the compilation of the target groups. Just like us, are our target groups in constant development and especially online, so is the development and change of behavior at a rapid pace. So a compilation of one's target groups should be seen as a living document that you are constantly working on.

Want to learn more about audiences? Please read "Target group or Personas, what is the difference?"

Are you or your company interested in an target audience analysis? We are happy to help, so do not hesitate to contact me or my colleagues!

Anna Bertilsson
Head of Owned Media

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Blog of the year - Young Marketing Professional of the year, Sabine Ljunggren.