How to Find Your Target Audience

It’s easy to say you must invest your marketing budget on campaigns directed to your target audience. On the other hand, it takes hard work to find those specific buyers most interested in the products and services your company offers.

Consider the task a two-step process: know them, find them.

First, know them

Before you can find your target audience, you have to make sure you know who your audience is. Not just a generic “mechanical engineers who work for large companies” type of knowledge. We’re talking deep insight and understanding of who these people are; their needs, hopes, and fears; their roles in the buying process; their criteria for choosing a vendor.

There are multiple ways to engage in the process of thoroughly defining and understanding your audience:

  • Analyze your customer database. This should be your starting point. From your customer database, you can likely find out where your customers are located, what type of companies they work for, their titles and responsibilities, what they buy and how often they buy, and how much they spend. You should be able to build a pretty good profile of your best customers.
  • Conduct surveys and interviews. You can survey and interview customers and prospects to reach a deeper level of understanding about their needs, motivations, buying process, and other “human” aspects and influences that affect their decision-making.
  • Analyze competitors. Look at who your competitors are selling to. Should those companies be on your target list?
  • Monitor social signals. If your company is active on social media, pay attention to who is commenting, sharing, and participating in discussions. These are likely people who have an affinity or passion toward your company and products (or perhaps antipathy toward you, depending on their comments).
  • Define who isn’t your audience. This process of elimination is a helpful exercise in understanding who you don’t want to target. This knowledge can help you make faster decisions when looking at a media site’s audience for potential marketing opportunities.
  • Create buyer personas. All of the information above can be used to create multiple, detailed buyer personas filled with information about the audience you are trying to target. Don’t make marketing decisions without these in hand.

Second, find them

Armed with insight into exactly who you want to target, now you need to choose programs that will reach that audience and help you connect with them.

Data from media partners can help you. For example, the “State of Marketing to Engineers” research report showed the top channels engineers use when researching a product or service for a business purchase are supplier/vendor sites, online trade publications, industry directory websites, and publication emails/newsletters.

Your website is clearly a place to invest as engineers complete more than half of their buying process online. The other channels listed should receive close consideration for marketing campaigns.

The research report also found that YouTube and LinkedIn are by far engineers preferred social media platforms when seeking information on the latest engineering technologies, industry trends, and products. You might consider beefing up your presence on these platforms and possibly cutting back on others.

Another research insight that might be useful in finding your target audience is that podcasts are on the rise. Seventy-three percent of engineers listen to work-related podcasts throughout their week, a growth of 33 percent over the previous year.

Perhaps the most efficient and productive way to find your target audience is to work with a trusted media partner. GlobalSpec is the place where the world’s top engineers and technical professionals go again and again for the information they need to do their jobs. That makes your job of reaching them easier. We have comprehensive data on our audiences and GlobalSpec Media Solutions offers you great ways to reach your target audience at every point in the buy cycle, including newsletter advertising, display ads, searchable catalogs, and more. Plus, we will customize a plan for you to reflect your specific business objectives. Talk to us today.

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