Identifying your target audience is key to creating effective video content. Consider this as the beacon that guides your marketing messages. Knowing who they are and how they think will help you deliver your narrative arc and communicate your brand in a way that will resonate with them.
You’ll also be able to focus your brand content to target those who will most likely purchase from you, instead of trying to reach a wide audience who may or may not respond to your content.
It also makes decision making much easier and cost-effective. You’ll know which channels they frequent, so there won’t be any need to invest resources to advertise on channels that will deliver you poor returns.
What Do You Really Know About Your Audience?
Plenty of businesses make the mistake of skipping this crucial first step. It may be time consuming to do upfront, but it will guide all your brand marketing from this point on.
To create a comprehensive view of who your target audience is, you need to do the following:
1. Take a look at your current customers
Don’t be beguiled into thinking that you are the target audience—you rarely are. Even if you fit your target demographic’s profile, your inherent bias as (i.e. the belief that your business is better than all the competition) will always come into play, leaving fingerprints on the look and feel of your content.
Start with analysing your current customers. What do they have in common in terms of age, where they live, time zones, educational attainment, spending power, and interests? Which social media channel are they using? What problems are they trying to solve? What questions do they ask when they come to you?
Identify who your very best customer is and take the time to understand them better, engage with your sales and customer teams who know them well and get under the skin of why they chose your brand to work with, why they stay and what they believe makes your brand unique and different. Talk to them, see more below:
2. Look at your social media analytics
Each social media platform today offers their own analytics function. Look at the data and corroborate them with your own market analysis. Are there any gaps you can fill? Who are the people following and engaging with you? Which of your videos are performing well and which, not so much so?
Conduct proper social listening. Go beyond posting on your social channels and replying/reposting positive comments. Look at any negative comments as well. What do viewers complain about or critique most of the time? Are these complaints coming from a specific age group or region? These negative comments, no matter how small or big, can be a symptom of a bigger problem that you may need to address.
3. Check out your competition
Your competitors can also give you an idea of who your target audience is. Are they going after the same market segment as you? And if they are, how are they doing it right? Conversely, how are they doing it wrong? How can you do it better?
We are often naturally critical and dismissive of our competitors but take another look, apply the same critical lens to your own business – are you being clear in what your offering, do you make it easy for customers to engage with you online?
Think about how you communicate in relation to the Venn diagram below, can you identify their ‘sweetspot’s as well as your own? Do they genuinely differ? If not how can you make sure they do?
Although you won’t find out the exact market they are targeting, you’d still have an idea how they are positioning themselves and how effective they are in terms of their video content (in Chapter 4, you’ll find an entire section dedicated to using competitor analysis to position yourself in a way that makes your brand unique).
4. Talk to your target market
Nothing beats talking to your target market to find out their pain points, fears, and anxieties. You can conduct in-person interviews, focused group discussions, or phone interviews. One of the easiest ways to do it nowadays is via online surveys. You can use social media to promote these and even frame it as a competition to incentivise people to take part. A more traditional method is to send them out to your current mailing list.
Try to strike a healthy balance between happy and unhappy customers, so you can get a holistic picture of how your brand is currently performing.
You can also talk to prospective clients and referrals. Whichever method you choose, make sure you mine the following information:
- Their demographics (e.g. age, location, gender, income, education, job role, etc.)
- How they think (e.g. interests, lifestyle, behaviour, etc.)
- Challenges, pain points, and frustrations that relate to your product/service
- Which social media channels and websites do they use when looking for information
- How will your product/service make their lives better
- What do they like/hate about your product/service
- What are their motivations when purchasing or following a brand
- What are the obstacles that are hindering them from purchasing or following a brand
- Which of your competitors are they supporting
Apart from hearing their thoughts and opinions firsthand, you’ll also be able to find out the language and terminology they use. This is a key piece of information that you can utilise in your videos—how do you talk to them, which words do they use in everyday life, which stories can you focus on, and which angles you can take.
A good rule of thumb is to interview at least 3 to 5 people. You can interview more, but as soon as you can detect a pattern and start predicting what/how they will answer, then you’ll know you’ve talked to a good amount of people.
5. Come up with customer personas
Customer personas or buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer. Having one will help you have a better picture of who you are talking to, which would come in handy whenever you create your videos.
This file is where you’ll include all the information you’ve gathered, which your entire company will refer to for all marketing campaigns.
You can design or present it however way you want, but here are a few good samples:
Source: Smart Bug Media
While conducting audience research, some ideas may already be forming in your head for future video content. Make sure you jot these down, and set them aside for later.
Case Study: Nintendo
Remember that your target market will evolve for a myriad of reasons. Take, for instance, Nintendo’s 1983 advertisement for the Game & Watch:
Nintendo’s marketing in the 80s to 90s focused on the escapism of an individual gamer, geared towards the younger demographic. In the early 2000s, the video game giant came out with the Wii, which was a runaway success. Apart from the evolution of its tech, they also shifted their marketing message from individual gamers towards the entire family.
When the Nintendo Switch came out in 2017, video ads focused on collaboration and diversity (be it online or offline gaming), as the console can be played anywhere, any time.
Target audiences change through time, so it’s your role to keep on top of your market research so you can understand your audience throughout the years and decades and and adapt to changes in their demographic makeup, as well as typical behaviour, likes and dislikes.
QUICK CHAPTER SUMMARY
- Creating your videos should start with knowing who your target audience is, so you can focus your marketing message on the right demographic.
- It might take a lot of time to do, but knowing your target audience will guide all your future marketing campaigns.
- Start by identifying what similarities your current customers have, evaluating your social media analytics, and interviewing your target market to get a better view of who they are; you can also evaluate your competitors.
- After gathering all the data, create a customer persona to have a better picture of who your audience is.
- Remember that target audiences evolve, so update your market research regularly by encouraging and monitoring feedback, as well as periodical surveys and polls.