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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn

Designing your first marketing plan: Audience analysis

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Are you not sure where to start with designing an effective marketing strategy? I can help.

In a previous post I explained that there are five questions you need to ask when developing a marketing plan. Have a look at the previous post for question 1: what are my marketing goals?

If you've successfully answered that question, with SMART goals which you can regularly evaluate performance against, you're ready for question 2. Buckle up because this is another BIG question, and it has several layers.

Question 2. Who are you trying to do it to, with or for?

Who is your audience for your marketing activity? Get a blank piece of paper and write down as many answers as you can think of.

Identify your audience groups

Be as specific as you can here. "Customers" is not specific enough to be helpful. "The public" should be a firing offence.

Split up your audiences to provide as much detail as you can. This is called 'audience segmentation'.

There are fancy ways of doing this such as personas, but - aside from the fact I think they are a bit woolly and take lots of energy - fundamentally you just need to split your target group into sensible smaller groups. Don't go too granular or you'll find it unmanageable though.

Let's use an example from the post on setting your marketing objectives, "helping management communicate why it is necessary for staff to return to working from the office". Initially you might think of the audience for this being just "staff", but actually every member of your staff is different. So what do they have in common?

Within your overall staffing body you can start to make smaller groups based on a variety of different things:

  • Leadership team - the ones making the decision

  • Line managers - the ones who will have to communicate the decision and answer questions

  • Staff members - the ones impacted but without any decision-making influence

You can also create segments such as:

  • People who will be happy to go back to the office

  • People who will be annoyed at going back

  • People who are ambivalent

Identifying these groups allows you to start thinking about what you need to say to who, in order to have the most chance of achieving your objective.

Rows of people sit listening to a speaker. The speaker has obviously said something amusing, as they are laughing and smiling.

Image: Wes Lewis

Identify the key motivations, behaviours and pain points for each group

Now you have written down all your audience groups, you need to expand this to take account of what you know about them. Bring in as much information as you can at this stage to help you develop groupings. Try not to make assumptions (not all young people are on TikTok, not all women have caring responsibilities, not everyone speaks fluent English etc) but use the data you have to guide your segmentation. This is a bit of work but it will make the later stages easier, and the ultimate marketing outputs more effective.

The number of segments you create depends on the size of your overall audience. If you are working just with staff, then having a few groups based on criteria like those used in the above example will be fine.

If you are working with a larger group of members of the public, you'll need more. Say you were a shop that sold dog treats, your first segmentation should be to split between existing customers and prospective customers. Within prospective customers you could have groups for dog owners and dog walkers for example. How you target each group will be slightly different, because they have different motivations for buying from you.

Tailored messaging = higher chance of success

Now you know who you want to talk to, what kind of action you want them to take, and have an understanding of what pushes their buttons.

Keep all of this close as you will need it when you get to the tactical stages of implementing your plan later. Look out for a future blog post on this topic coming soon!

Hopefully this post has helped you understand how to use audience analysis and segmentation to develop a marketing strategy. If you need more information on how to make your business marketing effective, get in touch - I can provide strategic marketing and communications input which will drive your organisation's performance.

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