Surfers or Skaters? Choosing Your Target Audience

There’s a saying that goes “If you try to please everyone, you please no one.”  Trying to market to everyone is a waste of time and $$ because your messages become too high-level and meaningless.

In order to get your customer’s attention, you need to segment and target your marketing efforts, since each customer group cares about distinctly different things. The “T” in target is part of our TRUE model and is an important first step when defining your value to the customer.

Power Shield pendant

For example, let’s say that I own a company called Riptide Designs, which designs and sells pewter jewelry.  Although anyone (age, gender, race, geography) may be interested in my designs, I need to identify a target audience so that I can tailor my marketing efforts and articulate the value of my offering in a meaningful way.

I decide to target young adults – primarily males – ranging in age from 10 to 24 years old, who are looking for jewelry that allows them to express their individual style, personal taste and symbolism. I know that this group typically shops at places like Hot Topic, Aeropostale, or Zumiez. I also know I need to do more research on their buying behaviors, as well as understand how and where they find information (e.g., word-of-mouth, magazines like Thrasher, websites, etc).

Since Riptide’s product line includes surf jewelry, skate jewelry, leather and trendy fashion jewelry, I can further segment my audience – for example, targeting surfers and skateboarders. I know that surfers and skateboarders both value individuality and that their lifestyles are distinct enough to warrant different language, different visuals and different content on my web pages or in my advertising to better appeal to each of these audiences.

There are many ways to segment your customers:  age, sex, ethnicity, interests, demographics and so on. Or for businesses, you can look at: type of company, industry, role within an organization, shared challenge or issue, etc. There are many categories to look at, but what’s most important is to identify, research and profile a group that shares a distinct value experience.

We segment customers in order to better understand what’s relevant to them. Identify what a customer values, and don’t forget that it can be more than just features – “value” or what’s relevant to them can be measured in price, convenience, service, or experience.

By understanding what’s of value to your customer, it becomes much simpler to decide what to focus on and highlight in your marketing activities.