How Are You Targeting Your Audience?

How Are You Targeting Your Audience?

What if I told you the way marketing has traditionally thought about audience targeting and personas is completely wrong?

👉 The old way – draw a boundary around a group of people based on some arbitrary factor (age, gender, location, income, marital status, etc.).

Intuitively, we should all be highly suspicious of this approach.

Just because a person happens to fall into a particular age range with another person, or live in the same city, or are the same gender… it doesn’t mean those two people will have anything in common. Therefore, targeting based on arbitrary factors will likely miss 86% of the time, and only hit 14% of the time.

Regardless of age, or gender, or income, people have different preferences, hopes, dreams, desires, are in different life stages, etc. Not to mention, people are coming and going in and out of these buckets all the time – they get older, get promotions, get married / divorced, relocate…

👉 The new way – what if instead of drawing a boundary around a group of 18-24 year old males who live in Vancouver, we draw our boundary around a group of people who all share a particular set of values (there are 56 core values such as family, financial security, personal growth…).

Cohesion-score valuegraphics

If you did it this way, the cohesion score, or agreeableness, amongst the value-based group will be significantly higher than the age-based group. The average group of 18-24 year olds will agree roughly 14% of the time, and disagree 86%. Thus, any message targeting them, will be mostly ineffective at influencing a particular outcome.

However, suppose you knew that your audience are all aligned on the value of personal growth, and you draw your boundary around that group, they will agree roughly 90% of the time.

Where would you hedge your bet on which targeting offers a higher ROI on your marketing activities?

So if we want to engage people and influence outcomes, we should:

– understand the values of our consumers (what they care about, what draws them to one brand vs another, how they make purchase decisions, etc.).

– craft our products, campaigns, and positioning around those values.

Those interested in learning more, I highly encourage you to follow David Allison and the fine work his team at The Valuegraphics Research Company is doing. Also, check out his latest book – The Death of Demographics (link in comments).

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