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What is a Target Audience?

Margo Upson
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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Margo Upson
By Margo Upson , Writer
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education, Margo Upson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a SmartCapitalMind writer. Her wide-ranging interests and skill at diving into new topics make her articles informative, engaging, and valuable to readers seeking to expand their knowledge.

Discussion Comments

By anon296109 — On Oct 09, 2012

A market research firm may ask a panel of women who closely resemble the target audience for the product their opinions regarding various brands of lipstick. Your target audience might be women between the ages of 18 to 50.

The market research firm may ask these women how they feel about different formulations and colors. This information is then offered to the company and the company decides how to package and market the product.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 05, 2010

Bhutan- I also wanted to add that online marketing is also essential in order to attract a target audience. According to the University of Maryland, 25% of businesses do not have any form of online presence.

In order to successfully market to consumers, businesses need to have a website, a blog, and social media presence. A WordPress blog is easy to set up and should provide maximum search engine optimization keywords.

Also, the use of e-newsletters informs your target audience of new products and services.

By Bhutan — On Aug 05, 2010

Suntan12- That is a good point. I don't buy a lot of lipstick that I do buy furniture. I have to say that IKEA target audience is geared towards young families that want stylish furniture at a low price.

This Swedish retailer for example, offers an enclosed indoor playground for children that is secure in order for the parents to shop.

They also offer very low-cost meals for children in order to entice the parents to come to the store. In addition, they offer children's furniture and accessories such as cribs, bunk beds, toddler beds, and toys.

By suntan12 — On Aug 05, 2010

Mutsy- I will answer that for you. A target market is a broader scope. For example, if I can use your lipstick analogy, a target market for a lipstick would be women between the ages of 18 and 50.

However, the target audience for this particular lipstick might also include women whose household earnings exceed $100,000 a year. Such a lipstick might be marketed at $25 a tube.

This higher price is going to target affluent women only. The use of demographics helps to define the target audience a little bit more.

By mutsy — On Aug 05, 2010

Greenweaver- What is the difference between a target market vs target audience?

By GreenWeaver — On Aug 05, 2010

The target audience demographics of a group is clearly defined before a product is launched. For example, if a cosmetics company is seeking to launch a new formula for its lipsticks, it might perform focus groups for its target audience.

A market research firm may ask a panel of women that closely resemble the target audience for the product their opinions regarding various brands of lipstick. Your target audience might be women between the ages of 18 to 50.

The market research firm may ask these women how they feel about different formulations and colors. This information is then offered to the company and the company decides how to package to formulate the product.

Margo Upson

Margo Upson

Writer

With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education,...
Learn more
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