Target Audiences – Why do you need them?


Do you ever feel like your brain is on information overload? (I know, I do!)  Daily, we’re bombarded with information from every direction. You may notice a billboard while driving to work, hear a promotion on the radio, and then glance at your smartphone to find an eerily specific sponsored ad… All before 8 am! Since we’re hit with promotions from every angle, it can be difficult to focus on one message. That’s why it is so important for organizations to identify a target audience.


A target audience is a group of people who have shared attributes and values. They are a group most likely to take an interest in a specific product or service.

Why can’t we advertise like we used to?
In most cases, traditional advertising no longer works on its own. Before the age of rapid technological growth, marketers would blast their message to the masses and hope it stuck. They would do this through newspapers, radio, or television commercials, to name a few. These methods may not be obsolete today, but to use them as your only source of advertising is unwise because they’re just not specific enough.
Most Americans, especially younger generations, are accustomed to seeing messages tailored to them. If a message isn’t of interest or value immediately, they move on and consume the next one. They’re so used to being bombarded that their attention spans have decreased significantly. A research study conducted by Microsoft Canada found the average human’s attention span had decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. (Imagine what they must be today, nine years later!). This is less than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish!
So, how do we get our messages to resonate with the right people?
Start by figuring out who is most likely to purchase your product or service – your target audience. By crafting messages to people most likely to take an interest, you’re showing customers you care about the same things that they do. It personalizes their experience, makes them more likely to become loyal customers, and improves the odds that they’ll share their experience with others. It also saves money and time that would otherwise be spent blasting messages to people who don’t have any interest.
Example: Take a look at Starbucks and Dunkin’. They’re both coffee chains that generally target different customer bases. Starbucks coffee is a bit more on the expensive side, meaning that their customers are less price-sensitive than those of Dunkin’. Their menu is very customizable, and their atmosphere caters to customers who seek quiet places to work. All while sipping on their latte and snacking on a healthy panini. In contrast, Dunkin is more like a fast-food restaurant, with many on-the-go breakfast and drink options. Their customers tend to value a more affordable grab-and-go option, versus the slower pace of a Starbucks experience. Is there some crossover between Starbucks and Dunkin’ customers? Sure. But generally, customers prefer one or the other based on the things they value, such as cost or quickness. These two coffee chains sell the same product but speak to different audiences with their messaging and overall customer experience.
How do we begin to define our target audience?
  • Conduct Market Research: Analyze customer trends in your industry. What are people purchasing? What types of promotions are successful? Analyze your competitors as well and see what’s working (and not working) for them. If you’re struggling to know where to start, this is a good first step.
  • Determine Basic Demographics: If your organization is just getting started, think about the product or service you’re offering and consider where it has the most appeal. Established businesses should also analyze customer data to discover past trends. Here are some demographics to consider:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Profession
    • Income
    • Education Level
    • Marital Status
    • Family Situation



  • Create Target Audience Personas: Your goal is to find your ideal customer. The person you can speak to about your product most easily. By developing a persona, you are creating an ideal customer. This will help you find real customers who share their values and characteristics. You may have multiple personas depending on the number of products or services you offer and how they are used.


  • Evaluate & Refine: Your target audience may change over time, as will the methods you need to use to best reach them. Don’t be afraid to tweak your audience and re-evaluate from time to time.
Need help finding your target audience? Systemax has got your back! Just shoot us a message and our creative team can talk you through our brand assessment process. 

Author Info

Hey, there! My name is Kristen and I am a Strategic Marketing Director and Graphic Designer at Systemax. I work with clients to develop a strategy to meet their goals and ensure their projects stay on schedule. I’m also responsible for creating artwork for clients, including everything from banners to Facebook ads, and more. Outside of work, you can find me spending time with my family and friends or working toward my next project or goal such as learning videography or training for a half marathon!