At the start of any successful marketing strategy is target audience analysis. Because it doesn’t matter whether you want to develop a new product or set up a marketing campaign – without precise knowledge of your target group, all your marketing efforts will be in vain. If you don’t know your customers, you can’t address them and you’ll burn up your marketing budget without real success.
Especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, the opinion is: The target group is everyone who has money. However, this attitude means that marketing measures are not tailored to specific people, but are simply placed in the room. Due to this insufficient targeting, the budget fizzles out without effect.
So that this does not happen to you, we will explain to you why a target group analysis is so important – and how you can do it in 5 steps Define your target audience.
What is a target audience?
A target group, or target audience, is in marketing, a defined group within society that reacts differently to certain communication measures – usually more positively – than all people who do not belong to this target group.
The target audience is made up of a variety of different factors. This enables companies to find out which groups of people they can address particularly well at which locations. The term target group is used in both B2C and B2B, so it is not necessarily related to people, but can also refer to certain types of companies that are more receptive to certain topics and products.
Why is a target audience analysis important?
The target audience analysis is used in marketing to adapt all measures as precisely as possible to potential customers. However, a well-defined target group actually unfolds its power earlier: knowledge about the target audience should already flow into the product or service development in order to tailor the offer precisely to the customer.
Once the product has been developed, thanks to the target group analysis, marketing measures can be used in a more targeted manner on the one hand and more appropriately designed in terms of content on the other. This reduces wastage and ensures that you use your marketing budget more sensibly. In short: You reach more potential customers and usually drive more sales with the same budget.
Target audience analysis in 5 steps
1. Defining the target audience: demographics & socio-economics
In general, the target audience analysis proceeds in such a way that you move from the more general key data to move to the more abstract categories.
Therefore, in the beginning, there is always knowledge about demographics and socio-economics. On the one hand, data for this can be generated from analysis programs such as Analytics or the Keyword Planner – if you are already active in the market.
Relevant information in this step is:
Personal key data: Age, Origin, Gender
Description of life situation: Education, occupation, income, place of residence, marital status
B2B area: Legal form, company, industry, finance
2. Defining the target audience: Buying behavior & Consumption
As already announced, the target audience analysis progresses further and further to the abstract with each step. So once the first key data have been determined, the second step is to delve deeper into the behavior of your target group. Analysis of data from previous campaigns and a good feeling about the situation will also help you on this path. You must answer the following questions:
- Why does your target audience buy – and what?
- Which channels do they buy from and how do they get influenced?
- How often and when does your target group shop?
- Do price and income affect their purchasing behavior?
This accumulated knowledge from the target group analysis helps you to understand how your target group deals with purchase offers and what their general buying behavior looks like. From this, it can be deduced how, when, and at what price you can present your offer in the best possible way.
3. Defining the target group: Nature & Life
In the third step, you penetrate even deeper into the habits and lifestyles of your target audience. While it was initially only about key data and buying behavior, everything now revolves around psychological factors that may influence decisions for a specific product and company. So this is about:
- Preferences & Hobbies
- General Lifestyle
This data will help you get a feel for what really affects these people. These interests are partly important for targeting, but above all for the right address. This way you can weigh up exactly which product details you communicate and in which way.
4. Market research to evaluate the target group analysis
Of course, you can’t just pull all this information out of thin air. Previous experience and data in combination with a strong feeling for people and intensive thinking help in many areas. In addition, you have various means of market research at your disposal to make your target group analysis as accurate as possible and to evaluate previous considerations.
If you already have empirical values and data, you can use market research at this point for comparison. If you are starting from scratch, it makes sense to carry out surveys before you start thinking. In this case, you would start with this fourth point, then go through points 1-3 and then evaluate the information again using market research.
First of all, it should be said: Small and medium-sized companies in particular often lack the opportunity to conduct in-depth market research. In this case, it is enough to rely on your own data, good analysis, and the online research mentioned below. Even without surveys or interviews, it is possible to carry out target group analyses that make your life in marketing much easier.
You are not the first company, which analyzes a target group. Accordingly, there is already a lot of knowledge to be discovered on the Internet. At the same time, you can look at how the competition advertises and possibly derive insights from it.
In addition, you will find statistics and surveys on purchasing behavior and can use them without having to actively conduct market research yourself. You can also pay attention to how your previous customers interact with your company online, e.g. B. via social media, on rating platforms, and by direct message/e-mail.
Since access is very easy in this case, this measure should always be used. Small and medium-sized companies in particular should pay a lot of attention to online research, as surveys and interviews are often not available for resource reasons. Admittedly, the target group analysis will then never be as thorough as it could be with direct market research. However, you don’t have to worry: You can already define meaningful target groups with just online research.
An online survey is always a good way to get to know your target audience better. To do this, you create a survey that ideally works with closed questions, i.e. simple yes/no questions or rating questions with given points (1-5 or “do not agree at all” to “strongly agree”). Such a closed question helps you above all to survey your target group quantitatively and thus to gain significant data on step 1 (demographics & socio-economics) and step 2 (purchasing behavior & consumption). Depending on the structure of the questionnaire, it is also possible to collect information about nature and life (step 3) as well as psychological backgrounds.
Important: Ideally, you give your target group an additional incentive to fill out the questionnaire – e.g. B. a small discount voucher or a raffle with material and cash prizes. This is the only way to achieve a number of completed surveys that is statistically relevant.
Another, very detailed way of finding out more about the target group analysis is through interviews. For this, you have to design a questionnaire in advance, which – in addition to key demographic data, etc. – can also aim at step 3. Finally, in the interview, you have the opportunity to ask open questions and thus collect qualitative information. You can confront the respondents with certain content and let them take a stand.
Overall, interviews are a good way to add qualitative research to the quantitative data of a survey. However, access to market research is of course more difficult here. After all, you first need people who are willing to talk to you at length. Here, too, you will not get very far without incentives in the form of vouchers, material or cash prizes, or payment.
5. Persona – the result of the target group analysis
At the end of your target group analysis, you create what is known as a persona. In principle, these are profiles of fictitious people who together appropriately represent the entirety of your target group. You should try to describe the created people as precisely as possible based on the facts you have collected.
There are several ways to create a persona. You can e.g. even use a template in PowerPoint or Word. There are also various tools, including Hubspot. With these tools, you can then create a precise profile including a photo, which makes the various people within your target group as tangible as possible.
Overall, the result of your target group analysis should be approx. 10 persona that together represents your entire target audience.
With the help of these profiles, you can now understand exactly how you can address these people in the best possible way. On this basis, you plan marketing measures and ensure that your budget is really used where it is most effective.
In order to make the statements on the target group analysis more understandable, we would like to give you a short example. This is explicitly not an in-depth analysis, just a brief thought game for better understanding.
Imagine you are selling hiking boots. You now want to do targeted marketing for the introduction of a new, sustainably manufactured, and produced model. To do this, you have defined and analyzed your target group. The following data was collected:
Demography & Socioeconomics: Age 18-55 years, male and female, all levels of education (tendency towards higher education), middle to high-income class, rather rural places of residence (but also in the city)
Purchasing behavior & consumption: Purchase in-store & online, little impulse purchase, advice and research are important, extensive information about product properties, address via social media and website Being & Life: Sustainability, health, fitness, nature, adventure, travel, ecological living, vegetarianism, veganism, frugal, conscious
Now, from this data, create a persona that covers a specific segment of it:
Oscar, 26 years old, female. Communication expert on sustainable living and conscious consumption
- Survey demographics & Socioeconomics
- Analyze purchasing behavior & Consumption
- Understand beings & life
- Use market research tools
- Create Representative Persona
A professional target group analysis requires a lot of time and experience. Since it is immensely important and forms the basis for the success of marketing measures, you should carry out the definition of target groups extremely conscientiously. If you follow the 5 steps as a guide, you are already well on the way to using your budget in a more goal-oriented manner and thus achieving more success!