Every marketing campaign starts off with two things: a brand and a target audience. Determining a target audience used to be fairly simple; marketers looked at demographics and psychographics and determined which groups would be most responsive to the brand.

Who: is your target market made up of males or females? How old are they? Are they married or single?

Where: where do they live? What country? Are they in the country, suburbs or city?

What: what are their interests? What time of day is best to reach them? What is it about the brand’s persona that connects with them?

Why: why is the brand appealing? Why does the target audience need the product or service?

How: how can a brand’s product or service benefit the target audience?

Fundamentally the process for determining target audiences hasn’t changed, marketers still ask those questions. However, what has changed is how specific target audiences can get.

Psychographics are becoming increasingly important as niche marketing is becoming more of a common practice.

Brands that serve a niche market need to pay attention to psychographics in particular. Already having a smaller number of people in their target audience, these brands need to ensure that the connection they do create is a strong one.

It used to be that males 18-25 and who live alone was a target audience. Seems kind of broad doesn’t it? It is possible to narrow down the target audience even more and it’s largely due to social media.

Social media has made it possible for anyone to be a publisher or a writer. If an individual is dissatisfied with the lack of discourse on their interests, there is little stopping them from starting a blog or an online magazine. That’s where marketers need be looking to determine their target audience.

With the vast amount of resources available at marketer’s fingertips, it is possible to include more variables in the target audience. Instead of targeting males 18-25, who live alone and don’t cook, they can target males 18-25, who live alone in an exact neighbourhood and who don’t like vegetables.

For agencies, this can mean greater efficiency and better results for the brands.  While the “blanket approach” of placing ads in all outlets that cover a particular topic can be successful in some cases; increased exposure does drive sales, it runs the risk of being too generic and lacking the details that speak directly to the target audience.

For niche marketing and its specific target audiences to be successful, marketers need to use the fine details to grab the attention of the members of the target audience, speak to them directly and build a strong relationship that will be maintained over time.

With niche marketing ads are just the beginning. As previously mentioned there are blogs, online magazines and digital media, but then there are also social media platforms and forums. Marketers need to be monitoring online conversation and see how people are speaking about brands and products. In doing so marketers can better position brands and products to align with the feelings and perspectives of the target audience, again developing a stronger connection.

Integrating psychographics and multiple variables when identifying a target audience helps drive sales through developing brand loyalty, as opposed to attracting a large amount of one-time buyers.

How specific do you get when identifying target audiences? How do you determine which variables to include?