When a company begins to brainstorm marketing strategies for a new product or service, they first take time to consider who will get the most benefit from what they are offering. For example, an ad for a toy meant for toddlers might be created with parents in mind. A toy for eight to ten year old children, however, would have commercials meant to get the kids in that age group interested in the product.
The demographic, or group of people, that an ad campaign is trying to sell to is called the target audience. By designating a target audience before beginning to market a product, it is easier to create relevant advertisements. Target audiences are considered when developing new products. Companies brainstorm what those specific consumers could use to make their lives easier, and then they try to develop that product.
A target audience is determined by several characteristics. Depending on the product, marketing teams will consider the age and gender that will be most interested in making a purchase. Companies will also consider the income range of their potential buyers, as well as where they are in life. For example, a bachelor just out of college has different needs than a successful businessman with three kids and a wife. Other considerations for determining a target audience include lifestyle, career, location (including urban or suburban), education, and hobbies, among others.
When defining a target audience, it is important to be as specific as possible. "Single women" is not going to be as helpful as "single, college educated business women in their early 30's who are living in a metropolitan area and have a significant disposable income." The second description gives a much clearer picture of who an ad campaign is meant to connect with.
After a target audience has been defined, the next logical step is to learn how to connect with that audience. What are their concerns? What are their goals? There needs to be a concrete answer for how the product or service being offered can answer these questions. Maybe the product is meant to meet a need that this demographic didn't know they had. In that case, the marketing campaign has to not only introduce the problem, but also the solution.
Introducing both a problem and then a solution in an ad is a very popular method of marketing. An example of this would be an ad for an all-natural body wash. The ad would start by listing the chemicals in other body washes, and how they are absorbed into the skin. This creates the problem – consumers don't want to be exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals. The solution is the all-natural body wash, solving the consumer's problem and earning the company sales. The target audience in this case would be encouraged by this ad to stop buying their regular body wash and start buying the new product, if the ad is effective.
Target audiences are developed to give companies a population to market products to. It is important for companies to not only market a target audience, but also to earn their trust and loyalty. This makes it easier to convince the same audience to buy future products and services, because there is already a relationship for the company to work with.