Matt Kurowski

Female 25-44 is not a target

09.13.11

We work with creative briefs all the time in our business. We rely on them to communicate the information needed to develop the best work. The specifics of briefs can vary, but there is one element that you will find on every version:

Target Audience


Knowing our target is crucial to developing compelling work. Now let’s walk through the process, using a sample client. This fictitious client sells benefit services to companies. So we begin with the basics:

Target Audience

  • Human Resource Directors
  • Work for companies with 300-500 employees
  • Typically female, aged 25-44

Ok, that’s a solid start. Now we know something about this audience. But is there more? There better be, because this doesn’t give us nearly enough information to develop work that will connect with the audience. Another important piece of information is the role the target plays in decision making for the products/services being offered.

Role in decision making

  • Serve as key decision makers for the following employee benefits:
    • Health benefits
    • 401k plans
  • Serve as influencers on the following:
    • Disability benefits
    • Tuition reimbursement

It’s starting to come together. Now we know who they are, and their role in decision making. What else might be helpful? How about an understanding of what they do every day? What keeps them up at night? What are the areas where they need help?

Pain points/Challenges/Needs

  • Balancing a full range of responsibilities, including, but not limited to, the benefit products we offer
  • Stretched to the limit, and in need of a turnkey benefits solution so they can focus on their other responsibilities
  • Looking for ways to better communicate with their employees regarding benefits

Cha-ching. There it is. We have some insights that can help us do better work. We know what buttons need to be pushed. We know how our differentiation points align with their needs. We know how we can connect with them and help them with their challenges. Now we have a target audience definition.

This example includes just a few ideas on how to deepen your target definition. There are many other options to consider.

I have never, EVER had a creative director tell me that I provided too much information on the target. I have, however, been asked to provide additional information.

When you develop marketing for your company, what does your target definition look like? How much do you know about them? And how much are you communicating to those who need to develop strategies and tactics to reach your audience, and compel the target to take action?

If your definition is still limited to the first few lines in this document, it’s time to take another look. Conduct research, talk to your frontline teammates, and learn everything you can about your audience. It WILL lead to more effective, efficient and powerful marketing.

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