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Month of Marketing Tip 1: Understanding your Audience

Marketing is about making a connection with consumers. In order to be effective in your marketing approach, you need to match your brand to your message, and your message to your audience. It’s critical to understand your audience to be able to match your message correctly. The first step to understanding your audience is identifying who your audience consists of. 

Identify your audience

In a perfect world, our audience would be everyone. We wouldn’t have to worry about how we market, or who we market to, because everyone wants to buy our product/service. The good news is that it’s okay to have a niche! In fact, it will help you stay consistent with your messaging. It’s important to identify who falls into the niche that you’re targeting. These individuals make up your “audience,” the consumers who are going to be receiving your marketing message. There are a few questions you should ask to help you identify your audience. 

  • Who needs your product/service?
  • Who is currently buying your product/service?
  • Do you have multiple segments you’re targeting? 
  • How is your audience receiving your message? 

You may already have these questions answered for your business, but a little customer discovery doesn’t hurt either! Ask your current customers why they buy from you, and what problem your product/service helps them solve. It will help you to organize this information by creating separate buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of the ideal customer that you’re marketing to.

Let’s say you have a lemonade stand. Your buyer personas will likely look something like runners, neighborhood dog walkers, and parents walking children home from school. Each of these three personas will have a different reason for passing your lemonade stand, what their need for purchasing lemonade is, and how they consume their lemonade. After you’ve identified who your audience consists of, you can begin to understand them and what their conflicts are. 

Understand the motivational conflict

Just because a product/service solves a problem for someone, does not automatically convince them to buy it. Therefore, knowing what motivational conflict exists for your consumers is essential. 

Motivational Conflict: A situation in which a consumer is driven to make a decision based on conflicting goals. Consumers are either motivated by a positive or a negative reinforcement, which forms the basis for the individual’s motivation to act and make consumer decisions.

Motivational conflict means a consumer has two alternative choices. Let’s refer back to our lemonade stand example. A runner might want to buy your lemonade because it’s a refreshing drink that will hydrate them during their run. Their motivational conflict, however, might be that once they buy your lemonade they do not want to have to carry the cup for the rest of their run. The two alternative options are to buy the lemonade and quench their thirst, or not buy the lemonade and not have to carry a cup for the rest of their run.

You can see that even though your lemonade provides a solution to their problem, thirst, there is still a motivational conflict that might prevent them from buying your solution. Again, don’t be afraid to ask people, “Hey, what made you buy my product/service over my competition?” This can provide you with amazing insight into your consumers’ motives and drivers of consumption. Once you know this information, you can begin to tailor your message accordingly. 

Tailoring your message

After laying the groundwork of identifying your audience, and understanding their motives, you have the knowledge you need to begin tailoring your message to your customer base. Show your audience how your product/service enhances their life and solves their motivational conflict. Like in our lemonade stand example, if the motivational conflict is having to carry around the lemonade cup, then advertise that you will dispose of the cup for your customers. 

This message is about alleviating their pain point, so your customer is confident that your product/service was the best choice for them. Furthermore, it will prevent them from having a nagging feeling that they choose incorrectly, known as buyer’s remorse. Tailoring your marketing message to your audience puts you on the right path to keeping a consistent marketing approach for your brand.

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