Posted by Alex Hawker
31 October, 2019

There’s something you need to get clear before you start marketing: whom you’re marketing to.

Once this is in place, you’ll start learning about how you can connect with a specific group of people who love your brand.

Choose a specific target

When you have lots of different target audiences, you’re constantly trying to appeal to different needs, likes and dislikes, so you’ll experience conflict when you try to execute your ideas. It’s impossible to produce marketing to perfectly suit lots of different target audiences, and the more you try, the more your messaging becomes confused and your brand’s voice gets lost. You’ll actually gain a lot more happy, returning customers by reaching out to a smaller, more specific group with quality messaging than if you try to appeal to everyone with something more generic.

If you're a business with different outputs that result in different audiences, for example, a holiday lettings company marketing to both holidaymakers and homeowners, then it's a good idea to consider slightly tweaking your approach depending on who you're talking to. At Nixon, we often respond to cases like these by adapting a different tone of voice for each audience. This way, you'll be speaking more directly, and the audience in question will better relate to you and feel more included. 

Understand your offering

The best way to learn about your target market is by remembering why your business exists in the first place. Focusing on what problems you can solve for people rules out those who won’t be interested, and highlights those who might be. 

Imagine you’re a hotel in central London. Do tourists come to you because you’re close to galleries and museums? Perhaps you appeal to foodies with an experimental menu, or maybe you suit families because of your award-winning baby facilities? Read your reviews and speak to customers to find out why they chose you. Seeing things from the perspective of your customers can give you a clearer picture of what makes you unique.

It’s not just the features of your product that define your business, but also the values that are at the core of what you do. Are you friendly and informal, or more official and quality-driven? At Nixon, we run brand workshops at the earliest stages of our process to answer these kinds of questions and drill down into what promises you’re making to your customers.

Consider demographics and psychographics

A useful starting point for your research is to think about the demographics of your customers. Look at their age, location, occupation, marital status and income level to see if you can spot any common factors.

Then there’s psychographics. A person’s attitudes, beliefs, opinions, personality, interests and lifestyle all impact how you speak to them. It’s useful knowing the demographics of your customers, but understanding psychographics will mean you can think about their wants on a more personal level, which means more meaningful (and therefore effective) messaging.

Create a persona

Sometimes, it helps to imagine a fictional person to guide you through all of your marketing. You’ll be able to imagine you’re speaking directly to them every time you create any marketing material, which is really helpful in making sure your tone of voice is always strong and focused. Give them a name; describe their job and hobbies; hopes and fears; likes and dislikes; who their friends are; where they live; where they shop for their clothes; what their drink of choice is – it’s pretty much impossible to go into too much detail here. Of course, you might not have a customer that exactly fits all these criteria, but it’s an exercise in thinking about your typical ‘type’ of customer – and that’s massively helpful.

Once we know the basics about our customers, we can start to dig deeper into what will actually influence their decision-making. As humans, we always have justifications for our actions – your customers will have their own reasons for choosing you, whether it’s something very subtle or a black and white reason. The slightest thing could influence the moment they make a decision, whether it’s your tone of voice, certain details you provide, etc. The context your customer is in will also have an effect, so consider this at all times. Context affects moods and attitudes, and you need to learn how to adapt to how this will make your business look.

Our team can assist with branding in many areas, including tone of voice, brand values and brand identity. Learn more about our skills or get in touch.