Branding

Targeting and Retargeting Your Brand

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In this week’s discussion about branding and marketing, we’re going to talk about how important it is to not only have a clear target for your marketing, but how to figure out what that target is and why you need to revisit who it is every now and then.

Creating a brand is hard work, as is marketing it, so focusing your targeting makes it all worth it. Putting in the work only to put out ads that have no focus is a waste of time. It limits the amount of people who will actually see and care about your ad, and most people will ignore it or even be annoyed by its presence. For example, you wouldn’t advertise a new brand of cigarettes in a gym, but you might advertise a new sports drink. Targeting places the ad where interested customers are most likely to see it.

Why You Need to Know Your Target

Letting the public know about your product or service is key to building business, but blindly advertising to everyone is pointless. There are simply too many people who won’t be interested to even out how many people are interested, and the time and money you spend putting your business out there will be wasted if there’s no target or goal audience.

Having a target also avoids irritating those who won’t be interested. How many times have you watched a commercial and thought about how irrelevant it is to your life? For example, if you don’t have kids, diaper commercials aren’t relevant. If you’re not a homeowner, ads about window replacement don’t apply to you. Saturate a market that doesn’t want what you’re offering, and you’ll end up losing valuable marketing dollars on an irrelevant audience. You don’t want to be the business who doesn’t have a focus.

How to Figure Out Who Your Target Is

Determining who your target is shouldn’t be a confusing thing for most companies. Your services or products probably have a built-in target at least some of the time. Think of brands like Skinny Girl liquor—its built in target are women who are trying to watch their weight but who still want a strong, tasty drink from time to time. Other products, like Axe body spray, are geared towards different markets—in that case, men who don’t feel the need to purchase more expensive colognes.

If you’re having trouble really narrowing it down, though, look at your competitors and who they’re advertising to. Look at your (and their) current customers. Figure out different aspects of the people you want to attract to your business—things like age, gender, average annual income, where they live, what they do for a living, if they have kids or pets.

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You can also make a list of the benefits of your product or service, then brainstorm who would be after those benefits the most—that’s your target audience.

Look at different demographics like what the attitudes, personalities, and lifestyles are of the people you’re trying to reach, and think about geo-targeting your marketing as well, to reach specific segments of cities and states.

You don’t necessarily need to have just one target, either—for example, a certain product or service can definitely have appeal to several different markets (think of smartphones and how many different people use them). What matters about knowing your target is being specific. For example, you don’t want to market to “30-somethings.” You need to be more specific, and you can do so by considering the average income of someone who’d use what you’re selling, what gender they might be, etc.

Revisiting Who Your Target Is

Since marketing is fluid and concepts change pretty frequently, it’s important to return to your strategy and refine who your target is every now and then. Over time, the values of your audience may change and what they’re looking for may shift. Think of brands like Target. About 10 years ago, they focused on reaching as many people as possible as a Wal-Mart competitor. These days, they strive to put forth products that their customers see as a “step above” Wal-Mart. Their target audience has shifted from the same people that shop at Wal-Mart to people who shun Wal-Mart and seek potentially higher-quality, more modern products. This is especially illustrated in their clothing sections, where guest designers frequently promote Target-exclusive lines.

This is how brand audience changes. Over time, businesses’ goals may change and the audiences may not be the same. If you keep marketing to the same groups, you may find that your sales stagnate. Had Target not changed their marketing efforts, they’d still be targeting the same customers as Wal-Mart. Instead, focusing on people to whom social aspiration is a big deal has netted them a bigger customer base—people who like designer fashion may have otherwise never known about the Target-exclusive lines.

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In other words, it’s important to keep up with who you want to be your customer. That may not stay the same for the life of your business, so you need to rework and refine the way you market to people on a regular basis.

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