How to identify your target demographics in marketing

Target demographics and copywriting

writing for your audience
‘Everyone is not your customer,’ Seth Godin
​You probably have a terrific product or service that you have refined and you’re ready to tell the world. But where is your money, time and marketing efforts better spent: telling the entire world in a diluted scattergun approach? Or specifically targeting and blitzing people that are almost guaranteed to buy your product/service? Or at the very least buying similar from your competitors, have a need for what you offer or will likely to want it.
 
Here’s how you can discover the people (and psychographics) that you need to be speaking to directly. Knowing who these people are will shape how you talk to them, what kind of language and tone you use, what platforms you use and what images they will want to see. Remembering that ‘2pm on a Tuesday could be a very different moment from 2pm on a Saturday for the same person.’

Here are ten questions to ask before determining your target market from Entrepreneur magazine.

A demographic is a group of people that you are aiming your message towards. They are defined by their characteristics, purchasing habits and other factors.
 
Here are three types of demographic groups. Within each group you can further filter into more specific demographics. 

Engaged group
Also known as your existing or primary group, these are the people who are already addressable and interested in what you have to offer and have knowledge of your product/service. Although smaller, this group are easier to influence. The one thing you will have to provide is a unique selling point or a reason why they should continue to choose you above their existing practitioners or suppliers.
 
New group
Also known as your secondary group, these people are more likely to be potential clients/customers. They may have never tried your product or service or have little or no knowledge about your business but are open to taking that step or have been referred to you but are yet to “cross that line” and make contact with you. They may also have signed up to your enews or have enquired about you in the past without taking it further. Although a larger group they will require more energy and work to encourage them to move into the engaged group.
 
Hard group
This is a wide group of people, also known as the wishful or bonus group, that have no interest in your topic and are not open to learning or hearing about it and are unlikely to (however, if they do open up at some point, they automatically swap into the new group, then may convert to the engaged group). Needless to say, the return on effort (and there might be a lot of effort involved) is not worth reaching out to this group.
 
Your target demographic will be the people that you want to communicate directly with who are most likely to buy your service or product. This is not about excluding anyone from your marketing prowess but is about honing in on the people most likely to buy from you so you save your time and resources and get a better result.
 
I’m going to help you simplify this process so that you will find a useful and helpful way to use this knowledge, rather than overwhelm you with possibilities. My intention is not to dumb this down for you but to find a way of melding common sense and technical marketing knowledge in a useable and workable concept. By all means, do some extensive research on demographics and how to identify and reach them. You can even go so far as to boil it down to a sample person (known as a customer avatar) based on all the median research that has been done. A lot of larger consumer companies do this, so they know who they are targeting and can personify their demographic in the hope of really speaking to them.
 
Remember: don’t fall into a seductive trap of thinking that your product or service is best marketed to everyone. It is simply not the case that your product or service will be wanted or accommodates everyone, so it’s better to maximise your time and effort and really hone in on the target demographic that will make your business thrive. Be aware that this might only be five people that purchase a hundred thousand dollars worth of product from you each year. Or it might be twenty thousand people that buy ten dollars worth of product from you each month. Download your target audience demographic template here.
 
How to identify who is in your existing and new groups:
  • use existing knowledge 

  • use your inner knowing 

  • collect and collate data on your existing clients 

  • base your demographic on people who are in the same field as you (some of this information may already be available for your industry, check out some of the resources below).
 
Resources for finding data:
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 

  • University journal databases 

  • Marketing magazines and websites 

  • Data collection agencies (sometimes you have to pay for 
information and reports). There are companies specifically set up to curate this data for people to access. 

  • Google Scholar 

 
The internet is wonderful, of course, but there may be a lot of information you have to wade through. Ensure you put aside enough time to do so.
 
Here is a simplified example of demographics broken down into three groups.
 
BUSINESS NAME sells an organic cotton clothing range in a dedicated retail store in Byron Bay. They also sell their range online, via their website. Primary demographic: females aged from 20 to 45 years, who live in suburban areas and mostly come from Victoria and New South Wales. They prefer to buy their clothing in-store but will often research the product thoroughly online first. They go to yoga and meditation classes, prefer to shop and eat organic and most of the group are mothers and work for themselves in some capacity. 


Curious? Check out Victoria Secret’s identified marketing demographics here. 
 
Secondary demographic
This cohort includes the primary group’s partners, parents, friends or children that buy for this group and might also include wholesalers that act as a middle man for BUSINESS NAME’s product.
 
Bonus/wild card
Maybe you have a dream that your business reaches the over 50s market. Perhaps there needs to be some alterations to your product or service to suit this demographics’ lifestyle (and you’ll know what that looks like because you’ve done your research!) Perhaps your product or service already suits this group but you need to alter your branding so it really speaks to them. In this example, you might consider creating an “Over 50s” range with more classic branding.
 
Tip: to successfully communicate with any of your demographics, find out what they want through customer segregation. You can’t do this by guessing or assuming what they want. You can do this by asking them, perhaps as an incentivised survey (try SurveyMonkey) or by doing your research and monitoring people’s behaviours, trends and attitudes towards other products and services.

Remember: people’s behaviours and wants change regularly, so you will need to reassess who your target demographics are at least once a year. 

The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow.
This has been adapted from an excerpt of my marketing book Promote Your Spiritual Business

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