If I’ve learned anything over the last 20 years, it’s that a successful project starts with defining your audience. It sounds easy, right? Obviously you want to talk to the individuals who are going to buy or benefit from your product or service.

But who are they?
Where do they look for information?
How do they consume information?
What do they expect from the presentation?
What motivates them to take action?

Those answers can change not only your overarching strategy, but also the goals, objectives and tactics you employ. A TikTok promo for some might be a white paper for someone else.

So how do you go about defining your audience? I like to start with three simple questions:

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1.  How does your product or service solve a problem?

We worked with a client recently that has a wonderfully family and dog friendly restaurant and brewery. But they aren’t just trying to sell beer and food. They’re selling an experience. Tired from working all day and want an easy button dinner for the kids? We can solve that. Craving some social interaction in a chill atmosphere? Come meet a friend and bond over what’s on tap. Think about how your business and your product or service can make someone’s life better.

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2.  Based on research, even anecdotal observation, where does that audience live?

I’m not talking about a zip code, but where are they getting information. There are so many ways today for potential customers to hear about you. Social media. Radio. Podcasts. Print. Depending on your audience, the right mix of media can change, as well as the tactics within that space. An ad on Instagram may not garner attention, but maybe a reel would. Do you need to consider partnering with an influencer? Or is the tried and true newspaper or even digital magazine ad the way to go? You can’t define smart tactics, never mind goals and objectives, without starting at audience first.

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3.  Building on that idea, how would that audience want to interact with you to learn more?

Last but not least, so you have your audience’s attention. How will they want to take the next step? Do they want to research what you offer in more detail online before placing an order? Better make sure your web presence is up to par. If they have questions, will they want to talk to someone live, or is a live chat, email or contact form the way to go. What you’re selling will dictate some of this, but your customer’s preference has to be taken into account.

When we work with our clients, these questions start the creation of a well-rounded audience persona that brings the customer to life. It gives us a more informed starting point to build out strategies, key messages and more.

Does it take time to do this step? Of course.Is it worth it? Absolutely.