With the right process, you can pinpoint your target audience and improve your chance of success.

Illustration of groups of figures holding 'Target Market' signs.Determining an audience for a product or service can seem easy. No one, for instance, would try to sell brake pads in a fabric store or try to market home mortgages to grade schoolers. But just because it might be obvious who your audience isn’t, this doesn’t mean that it’s obvious exactly who your audience is. That’s why the business world uses the phrase target audience and not general audience.

What Exactly Is a Target Audience?

A target audience is the specific group of people who are most likely to buy your product or service—with specific being the key word. To market successfully, a target audience should be a lot more narrowly defined than “people who buy auto parts” or “people old enough to buy home mortgages.” Instead, you want to define your target audience’s unique demographic profile, narrowing down aspects like gender, age, income level, ethnicity, place of residence, familial status, and cultural identification.

Why Should You Determine a Target Audience?

Knowing your target audience is an essential step in connecting with the people most likely to buy your product. For example, if you determine your target audience is comprised of single, suburban women between the ages of 30–50 with a $100K–$150K household income, you can buy advertising in media that are popular with those women, place your product in stores frequented by those women, and even use social media to connect with opinion leaders among those women. By narrowly defining your target audience, you can dramatically improve how efficiently and how effectively you use your marketing and sales resources.

How Do You Determine a Target Audience?

It’s one thing to say you need to determine your target audience’s unique demographic profile; it’s a whole other thing to actually know how to do it. While it’s hardly a simple task (the best business schools devote entire courses to the matter), there are several steps you can take to narrow down who your target audience truly is. These include:

  • Identify Your Key Selling Point
    Start by looking at your existing customer base. What’s the primary reason customers are using your product or service? What specific problem are you solving?
  • Research Products/Services With Similar Selling Points
    What other products/services are solving the same problem? Who’s buying them? Are the products/services successful? Are there any case studies? Is anyone reviewing or talking about these products/services online? What are the unique demographic profiles of these people?
  • Prioritize One Demographic Element
    Based on your research, what one demographic element is shared by the majority of your anticipated target market? Gender? Age? Income level? Something else?
  • Conduct Market Research
    What do people who share that one demographic element think about your product/service? What additional demographic elements are shared by those who like your product/service the most?
  • Create a Target Audience Profile
    Based on your market research, what’s the unique demographic profile of the people most interested in your product/service?
  • Review Continually
    Is your product/service meeting sales goals? Are you seeing an unexpected target audience? Do you need to revise your target audience profile? Does your product/service do enough to entice your target audience? Is the price point appealing? The features? The packaging? The name?

How Can You Learn More?

One of the best ways to learn how to identify a target audience is to earn an advanced business administration degree. Specifically, you should consider a Master of Business Administration (MBA degree). This well-known business and management degree is a fantastic way to gain the in-depth skills you need to identify business opportunities and solve a wide variety of business challenges.

Thanks to online learning, you can now attend top MBA programs without having to move to a different city or even take time off from your current job. Through an online MBA program, you can complete the majority of your coursework from home. Plus, an online MBA lets you learn on a flexible schedule that doesn’t require you to attend classes at specific times of the day, making it possible for you to hold down a full-time job while earning your master’s degree in business administration.

When you earn an MBA online, you can learn all the keys to determining a target audience and put yourself in position to advance your management career.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Business Administration degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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