Audience – How To Define And How To Find

Natural Resistance To Audience Profiling – aka Buyer Persona 

Without customers, there is no business.  And while this statement is considered the number one law of business, what doesn’t seem to be as well accepted is that the key to reaching customers is to understand who they are and what they want.


Which One Represents Your Audience? 

These statements are facts, then why do business owners have a natural resistance to this audience profiling thingy.

Why the resistance?

Often, it is the mistaken belief that…

“everyone and their brother and sister can use what you have to sell”. 


This may be true – often it is not – but regardless, here’s the bottom line.

As a business owner, your pockets are not deep enough to reach EVERYONE! You don’t have enough money, enough staying power to convince EVERYONE that your product is the best and they should purchase it. Few business owners do.

That’s the hard way and often results in wasted time, energy and money.

What you can do and what the smart marketer does is to look for the low hanging fruit.  They look for those…

who not only can ‘use’ what you have to offer, but ‘want’ it.

The key to unlocking the door to sales is to find the audience that naturally wants your product or service.  They want a solution to their problem.  Or they want the status that comes with having what you are offering.  They want the feeling of success.

Key take away:  Tapping into the natural desires of your audience is the key to creating paying customers.

So how do you identify which consumers want what you have to offer?

You begin by crafting a profile of your audience.

How Does An Audience Profile Help Me Reach Them?

Yes, I know you’ve heard this a hundred times before but you never really understood how knowing their age or all of that profile stuff was going to help you reach them.

Let me explain.

When you profile your ideal customer and you have this crystal clear vision of who they are, what they want, how they behave, a couple of really cool things happen.

The first thing that happens is you get focused.

With focus comes clarity.

With clarity comes distinct marketing advantages.

1.  Your message is no longer garbled.  It is focused and specifically designed to reach your audience.  A more focused message that speaks to your ideal customer in words they understand is far more likely to get seen and read by those you want to reach. So they find you.

2.  You no longer waste precious time and money in media that won’t reach your ideal audience.  Now, you’re on a mission…a mission to reach as many of your ideal audience as is possible and you focus your energies where they hang out.

3.  With focus and a deep understanding of your customers, you better understand how best to improve your product and service offerings to match their wants.

4.  Rather than being just one of many offering a similar product or service, your focus begins to shape your brand. It becomes more defined and polished.  Your ideal audience begins to see your company, product and service in a new light and are drawn to you.

5.  Business decisions are easier.  Whenever you’re in need of an answer, you just have to think about your ideal audience and follow their lead.

Would these benefits be sufficient to get you to spend an hour or two to profile and zero-in on your audience?  If so, keep reading.

Why Is Profiling So Confusing? 

The fact is there are a lot of ways to profile an audience, which probably contributes to some of the confusion out there.

In the early days of mass marketing, (think Mad Men), marketers would use census data and demographics to define audiences.  madmenIt represented hard data that allowed marketers to measure the size of the marketplace, determine how much share they or their competitors had.  It was standard marketing practice to describe an audience by gender, age, income, household size, education, etc.

In the ’70s and ’80s marketing profiling evolved to include psychographics.  As the name implied, marketers wanted to get inside the heads of consumers and leverage their attitudes and beliefs in order to reach them.  This is when phrases like “Early Adopters” and “Laggards” entered marketing vocabulary.

The premise was and remains so today, that the better a marketer understood what truly mattered to the audience, the higher the likelihood marketers could tap into these emotions and convince them to purchase.

And it works.

A natural evolution of demographics and psychographics is ‘personas’. This is where we were 20 years ago and pretty much where we are today.

Basically, a persona is a single fictional character that represents the demographics, psychographics, and attitudes held by your ideal customers.

A perfect online example of personas is the website of Forrester.  This is a research company that services a variety of personas – people with different needs and wants relative to Forrester’s products.  The first page of the company’s site asks you to select your role (a.k.a. persona grouping) – IT , Technology or Marketing professional.

Once you select your persona, the site goes on to further define specific roles and responsibilities under each persona grouping.  Select the role that fits you and you are presented with a “customized” page of various research designed to fill your wants.

Rather than having to page through hundreds of studies that may or may not fit my needs, I am instantly presented with research that addresses my specific wants.

How cool is it that Forrester has such a deep understanding of the audiences’ it services that it can customized its offerings?

Can you do that with your customers?

Would you like to?

If so, you can get a  free copy of How To Create A Buyer Persona.  It’s a quick walk through of exactly how to craft your own audience profiles or personas.  I think you’ll find it very interesting.

If you decided to take action, you’ll find that personas can be a very powerful marketing tool.


And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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image by GlowPlug via Flickr




Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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