Finding Your Target Audience

I am going back to college. I have learned from my first year in business with Debutant Web Design that I don’t know everything there is to know about marketing. I have elected to complete my MBA in marketing. I will be going to Colorado Technical University Online. Classes start April 3rd, and I have been readying myself for their beginning. This is why I haven’t been posting my regular weekly blog posts for the last month.

But let’s go back to that statement, I don’t know everything there is to know about marketing. This fact troubled me for a bit. Certainly, I study the industry every day, read as much as I can, watch YouTube or Vimeo videos and generally just keep my eyes and ears open for news and trends. I feel that, although I am definitely proficient in many facets of marketing, I am not perfect. Being the perfectionist that I am, I was not happy with this revelation.

I began to contemplate why I felt like I needed to know everything there was about marketing. It turned out to be a silly reason, really. It had nothing to do with trying to “keep up with the Jones’” so I could feel like good competition to other marketing agencies. It was really the fact that I had people coming to me and asking if had a certain service, such as listing items on eBay or proofreading and editing an e-book. Suddenly I found myself scrambling to keep up on not only my regular marketing skills, but learn a new skill in addition. It was information overload.

One thing I’ve learned from studying marketing is that one has to determine their target audience. And if you are asked who your target audience is, and you say “everybody”, then you need to rethink that. The truth is, you must narrow down your target audience before you can have effective advertising, analyze your product or service’s effectiveness, do market research on your target audience, and basically succeed in business.

Think about it; if you sell widgets, you may think everybody needs a widget, so you determine that your audience is everybody. But if you think a little harder you realize that widgets really are for, say, construction projects. So why would you target your advertising towards five-year-old children? No, your target audience is more likely to be, for example, a middle-class male or female who’s hobby or occupation is building things.

If you are targeting a far bigger audience than you need to, you waste your precious money and time. You are so busy trying to please everybody that you miss the opportunity to please the people who are most likely to buy your product or service.

I believe that is what I have done. I have tried to please the many and in the process I lost track of what I had originally set out to do. I am always happy to hear customers’ ideas of what I may like to add to my repertoire of services offered, and if I feel it falls in line with my original mission, then I will certainly give it a try. But for now, I plan to stick with the basics. Especially since I won’t really have the time to take on new side projects while I’m in school.

I also realized that I am not the only person in marketing that doesn’t know everything there is to know about it. In fact, there is so much information out there and it is constantly changing, plus many marketers disagree as to what is the “right” way to market, that nobody in marketing can know everything. I have decided that I may not be as knowledgeable as the experienced marketer, but I also don’t charge what they do.

My company motto is, “Everybody has to start somewhere”. I think for somebody who just started, I’m doing a pretty good job. I will continue to do that as long as you all will continue to have me.

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