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When You Know Your Audience, Your Audience Knows

Have you ever seen an ad and thought, “Well, that didn’t do anything for me.” Perhaps you weren’t the target audience for the spot; it was intended for someone older, younger or of a different gender. Or perhaps, you were, in fact, the target audience, but the ad just wasn’t speaking your language.

When you know your target audience, your target audience knows. They recognize when you deliver TV spots or print ads or emails that resonate with them. They feel understood by your brand, and in turn, they’re more likely to listen to, and trust, what you have to say.

In this post, we discuss why knowing your target audience is so critical for creating effective marketing messages and how to do so.

Think About Who Your Audience Is

It sounds so simple, yet often goes overlooked by marketers. We’re so quick to judge marketing messages and creative campaigns through our own eyes, personal preferences and gut-based opinions.

Before you review any advertising and decide whether or not it’s right for your brand, remind yourself who your audience is. Are they stay-at-home mothers with young children? Young professional men living the bachelor life? Aging corporate executives with deep pockets and expensive taste?

Unless you are the target audience for your product or service, you have to step back and consider your messages from the perspective of someone who is. Would that email subject line grab the attention of full-time working single mother of three? Would that digital banner speak to a teenage girl looking at Facebook on her iPhone?

In a recent HubSpot article on copywriting, the inbound marketing expert gives kudos to Chubbies Shorts, a brand that totally gets who its audience is (“guys who like to quote Anchorman, crush beers, steal your girlfriend, and bring their own lawn chairs to BBQs”) and speaks to that audience in its own language.

A quote HubSpot shares from a Chubbies email:


It may be bold (and even uncomfortable if you’re not a 20-something male), but it works because it speaks to the Chubbies audience in its own language.

Think About What Your Audience Wants from Your Product or Service

Sometimes what we’re selling has more than one key benefit. For example, evolve vacation rental network offers a low 10% booking fee, professional listing creation, free HomeAway and VRBO listings and no term commitments. But which of these benefits matters most to evolve’s main consumers? Is one more important than the rest or is it the combination of all that’s so critical? As a marketer, that’s exactly what you have to find out.

A Forbes article on the importance of really knowing your target audience mentions how Procter and Gamble missed the mark when selling its Swiffer Wet Jet mop in Italy: “It thought the target audience was women who wanted a product with convenience. It turned out that [Italians] are far more interested in cleaners with strength, which prompted P&G to completely rework its messaging.”

P&G knew who its audience was, but it was incorrect about what that audience sought from its product. So they were speaking the right language but focused on the wrong message.

Live the Lifestyle

So you’ve thought about who your target audience is. And you understand what they’re looking for from your product or service. Now you’re on the right track to delivering more effective advertising that truly speaks to your audience.


“A copywriter should have an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.” —George Gribbin