Target Audience, according to the Business Dictionary, is a particular group of people, identified as the intended recipient of an advertisement or message. Also called target population.
The problem with a startup is that you choose your target audience based on assumptions and/or personal experience (e.g. You have a particular problem you want to be solved and you assume that people similar to you have the same problem and they want a solution for it).
The Problem With Target Audience Assumptions
Many marketers and startups make the mistake to base all their messages and targets on assumptions without measuring the results.
You can’t avoid starting with assumptions, that’s how everything starts. Try to back your assumptions with some research.
Don’t put all your eggs insight one basket
After backing up your assumptions with a little bit of research you have to make sure that you test your assumptions. The cool thing is that you’re working on your startup in the 21st century, that means that you can use the internet and digital media to test out things either for free or with a very small investment!
Being able to distribute your message for a very low cost using more than one channel at the same time is what makes things exciting on the web. It also allows you to know what’s going on when your content or ad is “aired”, you can define who will see it and you know who is looking at it at any given time, causing marketers such as Bud Caddel to refer to digital as a “sniper rifle”.
While you’re testing your assumptions take advantage of the many channels on digital, publish content and shoot more than one audience until you start getting good results from at least one of them!
Cool things about digital media and assumptions testing
The cool thing about digital media and assumptions is that you can target your audience for free or very cheaply! As mentioned above, Bud Caddel refers to it on his “Digital Strategy 101 First Edition” as a sniper rifle “If mainstream media channels like TV are a shotgun, digital is a sniper rifle.”
Another cool thing is that when using digital media you can get real insights in real time. This can help you understand which one of your target audiences is engaging more and even which channel brings the more leads from your best audience. Automatically you can use this knowledge to tailor your product/service for the target audience that shows a stronger early adoption behavior as well as investing more money and time to promote your tailored solution through the channels that bring more engagement from your early adopters.
Depending on your target audience, you can use “traditional media” too
Using traditional media can be expensive. But you can build some flyers and some business cards and market by affinity or association. In the book “The Ultimate Marketing Plan” by Dan S. Kennedy, arguably one of the most successful marketing professionals in the world, you can read the story about how Dan Kennedy has used affinity to target a diverse audience of people.”Although Geographically and Demographically the members of the National Speakers Association are very different, Dan S. Kennedy found it to be a perfect target market for him purely because of their mutual association. Because of affinity.”
You’re probably a member of a group already. For example, Steve Wozniak was a member of a group of engineers and hackers and he originally wanted to build the Apple 1 for those people. It was easy to market it and test it because he knew those people on a personal level. Use your circle for testing your original assumptions, combine this with the digital media and you should be able to speed-up your product/service development.
Why targeting is a key to your startup success?
As mentioned earlier in this post, by knowing your early adopter’s engagement levels and the channels that bring you the most leads, you can focus your energy, time and money on the best channels to help you reach your audience. As a startup, you don’t have lots of time or money so investing your time and money to reach a specific target through specific channels will give you a competitive advantage.
At which specific stages of your startup journey you must really think about your target audience?
You must think about your target audience at all times. You must also remember that your audience might change with time or you might need to adopt your product or service with your audience with time. But in the beginning of your journey, we’re suggesting that you give it a lot of thought when you are working on your Business Model Canvas (BMC), when you’re Analyzing your market, and when you are getting out of the building to speak to your customers
It’s easier with guidance
f you don’t have a marketing background or simply haven’t done anything similar before, testing your assumptions, targeting the right audience and adopting according to market feedback can feel like a difficult thing to do. The good thing is that there are people out there like The Startup Race (TSUR) team who work really hard to help you have a gently journey and learning experience.
If you are a university student in the summer of 2016, you can take part in the Student Startup Race. Register for the free webinar, taking place on July 1st, and you will see what kind of amazing support that you can receive as well as the opportunity to win cash prizes.