Often, business owners and managers make marketing decisions based on the things that they know. You love watching a particular show every week, and you can't wait to sit down and dive in, so you assume that it's a great place to put a television commercial. Unfortunately, this strategy may prevent you from actually reaching your target audience where they are.
Your viewing habits should not form the basis of your marketing plan. Instead, you need to focus on your target audience’s viewing habits and the content they are most likely to take in.
You Aren't Your Target Audience
You may watch specific programs, stream certain content, or listen to particular podcasts regularly, but that doesn't necessarily mean your target audience does the same. In some cases, marketing based on your viewing habits might create too narrow a target. In others, you may miss your target audience altogether.
For example, suppose that you have a boutique that focuses on providing high-quality dresses to young girls’ mothers. When you had young girls of your own, you might have easily found your target audience watching some of the same programs you did. As your family got older, however, chances are your needs changed--and your viewing habits likely changed along with them.
Likewise, you may connect with highly professional podcasts or content. As a contractor, you might follow a podcast or home improvement show that showcases some of the things done by the best of the best. On the other hand, your customers are more likely people who can't do those things themselves--and don't necessarily want to.
In some cases, your target audience may be dramatically different from you and may, as a result, have very different viewing habits. Members of the senior community might commit to watching the news every day, while you might prefer to get your information from your local station's social media feed. Your customers might often watch cartoons with their children, while that might be programming that you skip entirely.
Always keep in mind that you aren't your target audience. Your target audience is likely made up of a diverse group of people with their own unique set of viewing habits, and you want to be sure that your marketing approach incorporates their needs.
You Need More Than a Focus Group of 1
When you decide your marketing based solely on your habits, you have a focus group of one. Even if you fit inside your target audience, you don't want to rely on your personal experiences and interests alone to inform your idea of your target audience. If you do, you're likely missing out on getting in front of the people who can benefit from your business. Chances are, you're also missing out on growth opportunities for your brand.
Instead, do some research. Around 56% of elite marketers conduct research once or more per month. The better you understand your target audience, the better you can get in front of them. You want to understand who they are, what is important to them, and their pain points. Once you have a solid understanding of those pain points, you can then address them. If you're planning to use your research to inform your marketing strategy, you also want to know where your target audience spends their leisure time. What social media platforms do they use? (Hint: it varies by age, with millennials more likely to use Facebook and Gen Z more likely to prefer Instagram, for example.) What TV shows do they watch? What type of content do they stream regularly? The more you interact with and get to know your target audience, the better you can adapt your content to fit their needs and place it in front of them on the channels they're most likely to use.
If you're trying to start a solid marketing plan for the first time or want to expand your understanding of your target audience and their needs, consider reaching out to a media partner. An experienced media partner can give you a better idea of precisely what your target audience members are watching and how you can use that information to connect with them.
While you can use your behaviors and those of your peers to help inform your understanding of your target audience, you need to do your research before planning your marketing strategy. Don't get stuck with a focus group of one! Instead, research the viewing behaviors of your target audience to allow you to get your content in front of them on the platforms they already use and the programs they already watch.