Have you ever had a client or co-worker utter the following words?
I know exactly who my target consumers are: Millennials.
If so, your response should be, “That’s great, but ‘Millennials’ is not a target audience.”
Sure, Millennials seem like they would be great to target; there are a lot of them (upward of 90 million), they have tremendous spending power (estimated at $200 billion per year), and they consume a large amount of media (232 minutes a day of TV on average). So what is wrong with “Millennials” as a target audience?
Most notably, a target audience needs to be just that–TARGETED. Millennials, with their sheer size, are too voluminous and diverse to truly be a target audience. The group contains college students, new moms, young professionals, men, women, and many more demographic subsets.
Here are three mistakes to avoid when identifying and communicating with a target audience.
1. Ignoring how an audience likes to be communicated with
Ever received an email when you would have preferred a phone call? Or vice versa? Knowing how, when, and where to reach an audience is one factor to consider when selecting a consumer group to target. If the majority of your media vehicles will not reach your target, you’ll continually struggle to communicate your message. If you are unable to adjust your media placement, you may need to adjust your target–and thus your marketing messaging, too. Young Millennials, for example, are like their older Millennial counterparts in that both groups are heavy social media and online users–but the younger set does not use email as frequently. An email campaign that is targeted to younger Millennials would likely not see as much success as an alternate media placement, like pre-roll video.
2. Offering your target audience something they don’t want–or need
Thinking back to marketing basics, a brand promise is what you offer that your target wants, which is perceived to be better than the competition. Now ask yourself, is what your brand offers something that your target audience wants or needs? If not, are you offering the wrong promise; or is it the right promise for your brand, but the wrong audience? Gaining deeper insights into your audience will not only give you information on its tangible wants and needs, but also into psychographic factors that your brand may be able to address. Identifying the blend of functional and emotional benefits that your brand can offer to the target audience will help inform your marketing messaging and allow you to communicate with the target audience in a more robust way.
3. Being too targeted
Just as targeting the entire Millennial generation is too broad, having too narrow of a target is a mistake as well. While a precise set of targeting criteria may seem like a wise strategy, you will want to ensure that your targeting criteria still allows for enough critical mass to drive sales and consumption. If you do have a very narrow target, you may want to identify “look alike” audiences that are similar to your target to help build the audience volume needed to be successful.
Those are just a few of the many factors to consider, and challenges that marketers face, when selecting a target audience.
To learn more about Martino Flynn’s Insights and Analytics practice, please contact Rose Feor at 585.421.0100.