How Your Target Audience Can Improve Your Brand Awareness

by

Sam Tetrault

There’s no magic trick to improve brand awareness. But having a target audience certainly helps. Here’s how your target audience improves brand awareness.

With so many brands vying for attention, you need to get serious about increasing your brand awareness. And one way to really shoot this KPI up is by utilizing your target audience. It’s not always about how you’re marketing, it’s who you’re marketing to. If your target audience aren’t responding to your brand campaigns, your brand awareness will suffer. Failing to address its effects on your target audience could harm your profits long-term. Today, 56% of consumers think brands need a deeper understanding of their needs. Investing time and money in your target audience gives you greater insights into not only how to better serve your ideal user, but also how to market more effectively. To explain our point, we’ll be looking at the top travel companies in the UK to see their differences in brand awareness across audiences.

Why Your Target Audience is Important to Improving Brand Awareness

First, let’s discuss why your target audience plays such an important role in overall brand awareness. For a minute, wear the consumer hat rather than the brand manager hat. Think back to some brand campaigns that have showed up in your social media feed or elsewhere that left you wondering why you were seeing this at all. If you’re a runner, you’re probably not a good fit for a yoga product. If you hate wine, you’re not going to pay attention to a wine subscription service.

Why Your Target Audience is Important to Improving Brand Awareness

The examples are endless but the main point is that your brand campaigns will go unnoticed if they are seen by the wrong people. This is something you cannot afford to let happen, especially as consumer mindspace becomes oversaturated with adverts from 1000s of different brands. And what does that lead to? Low sales, zero profit and a restriction in the growth of your brand. Budget will be wasted on marketing activities that are bringing no results. And we all know how difficult it can be to get budget in the first place...

Define who your target audience and target directly to them if you want to increase brand awareness is an efficient and long-term way.

Cosmopolitan Target Audience

Cosmopolitan is a women's magazine that inspires readers into believing they can have it all: a hotshot career, a fashionable wardrobe, and a thriving relationship. The magazine is considered a market leader. 18 to 34-year-olds are their core target audience but the magazine is appealing to all ages. However, when we look at the diverse marketing activities that the magazine is undertaking, it is pretty clear that they stick predominately to their target audience: sunglasses, cafes, handbags.

Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash

Do the following for each marketing campaign to ensure you are reaching your target audience:

Focus

If you’re marketing to everyone, you might as well be marketing to no one. Your marketing efforts need to be focused.

Special messaging

Brands with a clear target audience are only talking to a specific group, they know what these demographics want and need. You can craft special messages that speak to these users in an effective way. Essentially, they’re experts in their target audience.

Targeted spending

If you are running your brand campaigns as paid ads on Facebook or Instagram, you need to be sure to push the campaigns toward your target audience. Don't leave the platform choose for you; make sure you select the characteristics that match your target audience. What's the point in having special messaging if the wrong people will see your campaigns anyway?

As a brand manager, you’re working with limited resources. You can’t afford to waste time and money talking to the wrong audience. When tracking your brand awareness, it immediately becomes clear how much further a target audience will take you. For example, since we’ll be talking about travel companies, it wouldn’t make sense for these brands to focus their efforts on homebodies. While everyone travels occasionally, their marketing budget is better spent on the users who will use their products or services regularly as part of their travel routine.

Even the biggest brands don’t market to everyone.

You don’t see Coca-Cola marketing their soda to health enthusiasts, do you? Coca-Cola knows its audience, and it markets to these consumers efficiently. To drive this point home, let’s take a closer look at travel brands in the UK to understand exactly how your target audience improves your brand awareness.

Brand Awareness & Niche Audiences: Travel Brands in the UK

Travel Brands UK Brand Awareness

Disregard the individual results in the infographic above for a minute and focus on the main piece of information that it provides: not all audiences perform the same. Look at Kayak. If they decided to opt-for catch-all marketing across the general population, they would have a brand awareness level of 59%. Now that is not bad at all. Just 1% off Airbnb and a high enough level that will very likely bring sales and profit.

However, their brand awareness shoots to 73% amongst millennials. Not only that, they overtake AirBnB by 10%. We don't need to do the math to tell you that by focusing and grooming a more niche audience, Kayak has the potential to grow even further.

Let's examine the rest of the brand tracking data in this infographic to highlight further how having a target audience can improve brand awareness.

1. Improve Your Relationship with Consumers More Likely to Buy From You

Improve your relationship with consumers by offering the value that they want from a product. In the infographic, we can see that Secret Escapes really knows how to reach the right customers. Amongst the general population, they’re lagging behind in 3rd place in the UK with a 54% brand awareness score. However, when it comes to millennials, this shoots up to 67%. Millennials are the ones most likely to benefit from Secret Escapes’ product considering they specialize in discount luxury travel, something that appeals to budget-savvy millennial travelers looking to get more bang for their buck.

If Secret Escapes began using brand tracking software, they could continue to find exactly where they fit the best within the millennial group so they can take over even more of this market space.

2. Save Money and Time

Having a target audience not only makes it easier to track your brand awareness, but it also saves your company money and time. Targeting everyone with your campaigns is expensive and ineffective. If your product doesn't fit people's needs, they won't buy it regardless how many of your campaigns they see. Where is the ROI in that? So, how do you use your money and time effectively to increase brand awareness? Track your target audience and track your competitors. See if they are performing better than you for crucial audiences. If they are, then take the time to research their strategies and see what you can implement. With just a bit of digging, you can find gaps in marketing campaigns that you can draw on. Kayak, in particular, doesn’t have a very strong blog. They create posts less than once a month. If they developed this further, they could take an even stronger lead in terms of their millennial brand awareness and make sure Secret Escapes, who are not very far behind, don't catch up. Millennials love online content. Remember that.

Similarly, the Airbnb blog is focused mainly on hosts rather than travelers. While they provide great tips for improving your success as an Airbnb host, they’re not attracting travelers who would use their platform to book travel. It’s clear that there’s a large gap in blog content for travel platforms. If a new travel service planned to enter the market, this is an area they could build upon to create a niche within the millennial audience. Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.This doesn’t only apply to blogging. Secret Escapes has their own YouTube channel, but they’re lacking in videos. If they spent more time developing this, they could gain more traction amongst their target audience who’s already searching online.

3. Emotional Marketing That Works

When you focus on a target audience, you become an expert in this group. As we mentioned at the start, more consumers want to feel like they’re being heard by their favorite brands. One way of doing this is by creating brand messages that will resonate with your target audience.  Let's look at Skyscanner as an example for this. Skyscanner are lagging behind all the other brands in all target audiences we tracked, including the general public. Could this be due to the wrong messaging? Skyscanner recently admitted to needing a change. They’ve pointed at their lack of brand structure and clear target audience as the primary reason they’ve struggled to gain a foothold in this competitive market. Today, they’re rebranding their marketing to cater more specifically to their users, hoping to strengthen their ties to young, seasoned travelers.

If Skyscanner carves a niche for themselves amongst young, frequent travelers, they could potentially turn around their brand awareness score. In their marketing mockups above, it’s clear that they’re refining their message to this target audience. Because Skyscanner has an eye on their brand awareness within their target audience, they know they need to redirect their messaging. This is something all companies can use to make sure their audience responds to what they’re communicating.

4. Overtake the Competition

When you focus on your target market with your brand tracking, you can increase your overall brand awareness score over the competition. It isn’t only about how your audience responds to you. You also need to know how your audience responds to your competitors. Let’s look at Airbnb. We think of Airbnb as being so in-tune with youth travel, yet they’re still falling behind Kayak in terms of younger audiences. How can they come out ahead?Take a look at Airbnb’s recent campaigns. In the UK, young people are less likely to stay in a home when they travel than those in the US or China. This could indicate that Airbnb’s marketing either isn’t as successful in the UK, or they’re focusing on the wrong things. Basically, it seems Airbnb are not selling the travel experience young British people want.But they are working on this. Airbnb has grown its Experiences category by over 2500% in 2018 alone. This means they’re focusing on marketing their adventures and activities rather than homestays.

That is twice we have compared Airbnb and Kayak now and there is good reason for that. Now is the right time for Airbnb to make a move. Kayak recently let go of more than 50 brand marketers, and they’re limiting their online marketing budget. This is an opportunity Airbnb can take advantage of to claim more leverage in its youth market.

Harness the Power of Your Target Audience

Is your target audience working for you? If you want to increase your brand awareness score, you need to know exactly who you’re talking to with your marketing. Brand awareness is not a static score. It’s always evolving with your audience. There’s no time to stay comfortable. From becoming an expert in your audience to focusing on the right user demographics, this is what sets brands apart from the crowd. Using a brand tracker to track a target audience will show you if they are going to bring you sales and profit - and of course increased brand awareness. And very importantly, it will show you if your precious budget is being wasted on the wrong people, something that has been extremely difficult to do before the launch of an advanced brand tracker.

Target audiences. Don’t ignore one of the most powerful tools for brand managers today.

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