Among the many activities, successful businesses invest time and money, finding out things about their target market is one of the more important ones. It pays off to have knowledge about the people you’re trying to sell products or services to. So much so that your audience makeup affects important decisions in product development, design, and marketing.

When it comes to marketing, especially digital marketing, your target market will often be referred to as your audience. With the rise of content-based forms of digital marketing, every business becomes a sort of publisher. Your target market, the people who are receptive to the things your business has to say, are the audience. And it’s very important to be able to determine who they are, what they want, and when they want it.

The Basics of Demographic Targeting

Even though personalized marketing has been getting traction recently, any business that wants to use online channels to reach their audience still needs to view their audience in the terms of good old demographics. In fact, that’s something you should do before you start personalizing your marketing to your audience.

You can divide any group of people based on a number of characteristics. You can take their gender into account, or their age. Level of education, income, geographic location, and marital status are also the characteristics businesses use to narrow down their audience. The number of characteristics you can use is incredibly large, and if you’d take it to its logical conclusion, you’d narrow your audience down to a single person.

But that’s not your goal. Your goal is to slice the widest possible audience into the one that’s most receptive to your messaging. Or the one that needs your product the most. Or the one that’s most likely to buy it. It’s important that you do this because the better you narrow your audience, the better choices you’ll be able to make regarding the content of your messaging, as well as the channels you’ll use to place your content. So start from the broadest and narrow down until you get to your core audience.

Where to Look for Shortcuts?

Demographic research can be too expensive for a small business. However, many of the tools you use for digital marketing will allow you to analyze your current audience. That is an excellent place to start narrowing down on the segments of your audience that matter the most. These tools will let you see what kind of an audience you’ve been attracting so far. With the information, you get you should see the slice of demographic with which you’ve had the most success.

You should also look at what your competitors are doing. The idea behind this isn’t to go after the same demographic as them. It’s the opposite — you should check your competitors’ audience only to find the niches they’ve been missing. Once your products, services, and online presence are established enough, you can start a more head-on competition with them and start targeting their audience. Until then, look for their mistakes and try to exploit them.

Advanced Audience Targeting

The advanced targeting isn’t focused on simple numbers that describe the age and the income. Not that these numbers can’t be useful, but they will only get you so far in targeting your audience. You want to know what makes your audience tick, and for that, you’ll need to understand their psychographics.

Branding experts know very well the worth of developing brand values. Values give customers something to identify with, and that’s an additional reason for them to buy your products and services. But you have to understand what the values of your audience are. You need to know their attitudes, interests, and several personality traits that will help you develop everything from your branding and products to marketing materials.


The goal of narrowing down your audience is to find the people who are most likely to respond to your communication and eventually use your products or services. It’s a necessary part of business development, no matter what size your business is. So use the tools you have at your disposal, or find resources to invest in new tools. Whatever you do, make sure that you have a good picture of who your audience is.