Is Your Audience Your Target? Here's Where You're Going Wrong               

Brands and audiences are the key to marketing survival. One does not exist without the other. But what makes up the personality of a brand? Is it the look and feel of the products? The style and savvy of the look? The image and cool factor on social media? Yes, a brand's identity can be all of these and more. But for a brand to sizzle, it has to find the right audience. Occasionally, there are brands that miss the mark on their intended audience. Think of Snapchat's marketing missteps with its 2016-2017 launch of its video camera sunglasses called Spectacles. Snapchat thought all the cool kids would want to buy its glasses. But after its initial marketing splash in fall 2016, the product wasn't available to the public until six months later, after the holiday retail season. By then, early users had already lost interest. Spectacles failed to find an audience due to a lack of celebrity promotion, hardware issues, limited content shareability to other platforms (like Instagram) and user issues.

Other brands in any industry might have the same issues. Here are some common problems and issues for brands that miss their target audiences:

  1. Not having a clear target audience:

    Brands tend to seek out audiences using specific demographic information, including age and location. But it's far more important to brainstorm your target audience's challenges and goals, and then create personas to help position the brand message. Having this background can formulate the selling proposition with more fluidity.

  2. Not interacting or having social conversations:

    If your brand isn't working the social media angle, you're missing out on valuable interactions with customers. Audiences want to be engaged. It's important to have online back-and-forth conversations on social channels with your target audience to learn more about who they are and what they need from your company. This information builds trust, but it can also provide clues about who the advertising is reaching and whether that's part of the defined target audience.

  3. Advertising and content aren't engaging enough:

    Knowing that today's consumers want engagement with brands, it's important to speak the language of your prospects. If you're marketing glow-in-the-dark sneakers for nighttime clubwear, you're obviously speaking to a defined audience, and you must replicate their tone of voice and style of language, among other factors. Language that addresses their challenges creates a connection.

Change It Up

So what happens when your audience isn't paying attention to your brand, or has tuned out? It may be time to shake things up. Does your product or brand provide a clear benefit to your audience? If so, can you "humanize" that benefit? Will it turn on your audience, socially or emotionally? Can a cool logo, smart audience targeting, and a terrific explainer video do the trick?

Experts recommend various marketing tactics to help your company break out of a marketing malaise. You can create buyer personas using Google Analytics. See who's buying your product, find out who's interacting with your email campaigns, and see who's clicking over to your site. Interact daily with social media followers or send out surveys asking for feedback via email.

One of my work colleagues once suggested that every time you get a chance to talk to a customer, you should ask questions. Find out what the person likes about your brand, why he or she continues to purchase your branded products, and why the brand resonates. You'll be amazed at the passion customers have for your brand.

With this knowledge, you can stop being wrong with your audience and start getting it right.