Target Audience Profiling;
The Key to Campaign Success

Target Audience Profiling;
The Key to Campaign Success

Posted on March 23, 2018 by Jordan Foster, Account Director at Trident

Rahul Sharma | How To Generate Leads Using Social Media | Trident | Creative | Digital | Print
How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

Audience profiling is an essential element to your campaign preparation and ultimately its success.

It forms a vital part of your strategic planning which will shape your messaging and creative output as your profiles will separate the people who are likely to listen to you from the people who simply have no interest.

For example, a vegetarian isn’t going to connect with your message if your new product is an all singing all dancing meat feast pizza, even if it’s won awards and has the latest high-profile celebrity endorsing it.

Marketers have always been taught to categorise their target audience into profiles as it allows us to try and understand who they are, what their behaviour may be and to identify just how to communicate to them.

Paid Demographics aren’t the only answer

Traditionally, this has been done through a process of researching facts about your audience, usually based around key demographics. We give them a name, dress them [theoretically] in clothes and determine what their pain points must be based on the information we have. You can see why this has been useful for marketers for so long. It has been a reliable method to segment your audience in order to tailor your messages to each group.

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

In theory, we have predetermined segments that we have categorised our target audience into, based on traditional methods using key demographics and facts that we know about them. As we launch a new product, we think we understand immediately that our new product will appeal to a specific audience profile we’ve created. Meet “Henry” who lives in a semi-detached house with his wife, his two kids and drives a Volvo. But I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think tailoring our communications to “Henry” is still a suitable way in today’s ever-evolving environment to connect with our audience. It’s too vague.

In reality, categorising our target audience using demographics and other social assumptions is detrimental to the success of our messaging and communications. How can we know that our 30-50-year-old, suited professional who earns a healthy salary working in London, isn’t going to want the latest Adidas Original trainers which are marketed to young, trendy teenagers?

See, I painted a picture of a stereotypical business professional and you could be forgiven for thinking this profile enjoys a glass of wine and drives a Jag (maybe not in London though!). The point is that from our initial demographic profile, we don’t know what experiences that person has. What or who influences their purchase decisions? What is the best channel to connect with them? Why they react to trends in a certain manner? We don’t understand why their behaviour is shaped like it is because we don’t truly understand people. Social normalities change all the time and marketers need to change with them to stay relevant to our audiences.

We need to be more understanding and comprehensive with our profiling. The Value Proposition Canvas is just one model of many out there to base your research on. It focusses on two perspectives: the customer who you intent to create value for and then the value you would like to add that will help attract that customer. The idea is that you first identify and understand your customer and then you can create value for them which is relevant and considered based on the information you have mapped out. It is a model that prompts questions and allows you to deep dive into more details of your target audience. Putting people into categories based on their demographics doesn’t work anymore and it certainly doesn’t appeal to the reason why our audience buy our services.

Profiles are people not statistics

I read an article that suggested that we needed to start focusing our research on our audience networks, not demographics – their friends, family, colleagues, what club/group are they part of? Who influences them? Because once we start to understand who or what guides their decision-making process, we can start to talk their language and connect with them more personally. Real people with life experiences, not based on age, sex, salary or geographical location.

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

And it’s true. Carrying out a deeper level of research into our audience’s inner circles and identifying common behaviours, interests and habits allows us to create messages that resonate with those profiles. Our research will always start with insights into our target audience, gathering data to help build that profile; What are their favourite brands? Where do they socialise? How do they unwind? But once we have that information, how do we communicate to them?

To look for a great brand example of this, you needn’t go any further than Nike’s own ‘Just Do It’ campaign which like all great taglines was both simple and memorable. The message talks to every athlete as they begin to have doubts about exercise before they decide to ‘Just Do It’ (sorry) and consumers were convinced that if they wore Nike trainers, they could be athletes too.

It was not only a genius message in 1988 when it was first released, but it is as true today as it was then, if not more. Nike have been able to make the statement a cornerstone of their business and an invaluable mantra for their audience profile that everyone can all relate to. They’ve used it across all sports from Football to Basketball which really shows the brilliance of it, as they’ve been able to create a message that has longevity in time but also appeals to all of their target audiences. Once you have a message which appeals to your profile, you have to execute it in a way which is just as appealing and Nike have done this again and again from engaging TV spots to videos gone viral.

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

In Conclusion

For me, target audience profiling is the most important part of your strategic approach with new marketing ventures. It allows you to identify your audience and done correctly, identify with that audience as well. Solely using demographic data to create your profiles simply doesn’t delve deep enough to paint an accurate description for your creative team to bring to life a campaign.

And once we’ve done the research, planning and strategy, our creativity comes to the forefront of what we do. We step away from the graphs, data and analytics to create a piece of communication that talks to your profile directly, whether that is through Social Media, Direct Marketing, Email, TV, Radio or a combination of a few (to name only some).

If you would like to work with us on your next marketing activity then don’t hesitate. Let’s talk.

Rahul Sharma | Trident | Creative | Digital | Print

Written by Jordan Foster

Account Director at Trident

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

Audience profiling is an essential element to your campaign preparation and ultimately its success.

It forms a vital part of your strategic planning which will shape your messaging and creative output as your profiles will separate the people who are likely to listen to you from the people who simply have no interest.

For example, a vegetarian isn’t going to connect with your message if your new product is an all singing all dancing meat feast pizza, even if it’s won awards and has the latest high-profile celebrity endorsing it.

Marketers have always been taught to categorise their target audience into profiles as it allows us to try and understand who they are, what their behaviour may be and to identify just how to communicate to them.

Demographics aren’t the only answer

Traditionally, this has been done through a process of researching facts about your audience, usually based around key demographics. We give them a name, dress them [theoretically] in clothes and determine what their pain points must be based on the information we have. You can see why this has been useful for marketers for so long. It has been a reliable method to segment your audience in order to tailor your messages to each group.

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

In theory, we have predetermined segments that we have categorised our target audience into, based on traditional methods using key demographics and facts that we know about them. As we launch a new product, we think we understand immediately that our new product will appeal to a specific audience profile we’ve created. Meet “Henry” who lives in a semi-detached house with his wife, his two kids and drives a Volvo. But I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think tailoring our communications to “Henry” is still a suitable way in today’s ever-evolving environment to connect with our audience. It’s too vague.

In reality, categorising our target audience using demographics and other social assumptions is detrimental to the success of our messaging and communications. How can we know that our 30-50-year-old, suited professional who earns a healthy salary working in London, isn’t going to want the latest Adidas Original trainers which are marketed to young, trendy teenagers?

See, I painted a picture of a stereotypical business professional and you could be forgiven for thinking this profile enjoys a glass of wine and drives a Jag (maybe not in London though!). The point is that from our initial demographic profile, we don’t know what experiences that person has. What or who influences their purchase decisions? What is the best channel to connect with them? Why they react to trends in a certain manner? We don’t understand why their behaviour is shaped like it is because we don’t truly understand people. Social normalities change all the time and marketers need to change with them to stay relevant to our audiences.

We need to be more understanding and comprehensive with our profiling. The Value Proposition Canvas is just one model of many out there to base your research on. It focusses on two perspectives: the customer who you intent to create value for and then the value you would like to add that will help attract that customer. The idea is that you first identify and understand your customer and then you can create value for them which is relevant and considered based on the information you have mapped out. It is a model that prompts questions and allows you to deep dive into more details of your target audience. Putting people into categories based on their demographics doesn’t work anymore and it certainly doesn’t appeal to the reason why our audience buy our services.

Profiles are people not statistics

I read an article that suggested that we needed to start focusing our research on our audience networks, not demographics – their friends, family, colleagues, what club/group are they part of? Who influences them? Because once we start to understand who or what guides their decision-making process, we can start to talk their language and connect with them more personally. Real people with life experiences, not based on age, sex, salary or geographical location.

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

And it’s true. Carrying out a deeper level of research into our audience’s inner circles and identifying common behaviours, interests and habits allows us to create messages that resonate with those profiles. Our research will always start with insights into our target audience, gathering data to help build that profile; What are their favourite brands? Where do they socialise? How do they unwind? But once we have that information, how do we communicate to them?

To look for a great brand example of this, you needn’t go any further than Nike’s own ‘Just Do It’ campaign which like all great taglines was both simple and memorable. The message talks to every athlete as they begin to have doubts about exercise before they decide to ‘Just Do It’ (sorry) and consumers were convinced that if they wore Nike trainers, they could be athletes too.

It was not only a genius message in 1988 when it was first released, but it is as true today as it was then, if not more. Nike have been able to make the statement a cornerstone of their business and an invaluable mantra for their audience profile that everyone can all relate to. They’ve used it across all sports from Football to Basketball which really shows the brilliance of it, as they’ve been able to create a message that has longevity in time but also appeals to all of their target audiences. Once you have a message which appeals to your profile, you have to execute it in a way which is just as appealing and Nike have done this again and again from engaging TV spots to videos gone viral.

How To Generate Leads Using Social Media| Trident Blog | Creative | Digital | Print

In Conclusion

For me, target audience profiling is the most important part of your strategic approach with new marketing ventures. It allows you to identify your audience and done correctly, identify with that audience as well. Solely using demographic data to create your profiles simply doesn’t delve deep enough to paint an accurate description for your creative team to bring to life a campaign.

And once we’ve done the research, planning and strategy, our creativity comes to the forefront of what we do. We step away from the graphs, data and analytics to create a piece of communication that talks to your profile directly, whether that is through Social Media, Direct Marketing, Email, TV, Radio or a combination of a few (to name only some).

If you would like to work with us on your next marketing activity then don’t hesitate. Let’s talk.

Rahul Sharma | Trident | Creative | Digital | Print

Written by Jordan Foster

Account Director at Trident

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