Forget Demographics: Target Audience Mindsets in Seven Steps
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Forget Demographics: Target Audience Mindsets in Seven Steps

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Big data may sometimes have a negative connotation associated with it, but if you are a marketer, the term big data shouldn’t be scary. In fact, stripped down to its core purpose, big data simply means you have enough information to allow you to be more helpful for the audience who is most likely to want information from your organization. That’s because the more data you have, the greater of an opportunity you have to focus on mindsets in your audience targeting.

If you continue to focus your marketing on demographics, you are likely missing a huge opportunity to get below the surface and have a more solid understanding of how your audience really thinks and why they think that way. For a marketer, this opportunity is huge. The truth is, your audience may not be who you think it is if you are simply basing your targeting off of demographics or uneducated assumptions. The good news is that you can get a deeper understanding of your audience by following the steps we have outlined here.

Stripped down to its core purpose, big data simply means you have enough information to allow you to be more helpful for the audience who is most likely to want information from your organization. #marketing Click To Tweet

Here’s how to dig deeper with audience targeting

How to dig deeper with audience targeting: Start with a brand positioning statement.

1. Start with a brand positioning statement.

Yeah, we know you want to get started with targeting audience mindsets, and we’re sorry for the buzzkill, but we promise you that this is vital for your audience targeting. You must have a brand positioning statement before you can start to define the audiences you want to reach. If you already have a brand positioning statement, then you’re good to move on to the next step. If you do not yet have one, you’re in good luck. Superneat Marketing principal consultant Britt Skrabanek created a “How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement With Steely Confidence” guide just for you.

You’ll want to take a look at the full article for all the necessary details, but if you’re in a pinch for time, know that your brand positioning statement needs to answer these four questions:

  1. Why is your brand here?
  2. Who is your brand here for?
  3. What need does your brand fulfill better than anyone else?
  4. What do you want your brand to be remembered for?

This brand positioning statement will give structure to every other step you take as you target audience mindsets because it will allow you to remember why your brand exists and for whom. Remembering these two elements is vital to ensure that the mindsets to whom you are targeting your content are the intended mindsets.

2. Compile all the data you have.

Chances are high that you have done some audience targeting in your marketing efforts in the past. That’s great. Even if your past targeting efforts only focused on demographics, you have some data to start with. This basic level of data will help you jump into the deeper dive of mindset marketing. Take a look at what you have — but do not get too specific with the data you have.

Consider the following data and levels of specificity:

  • Age: Don’t stress too much about specific ages. Instead, focus more on the generations to which your audiences belong.
  • Location: There may be some cultural significance that you should keep in mind as you consider the prominent locations where your audience resides. Also, knowing the location of your audience helps you understand the time zone where your audience is as you determine the time of day to run your ads.
  • Language: You may have made assumptions about the language your audience speaks based on the location where they reside, but you may be surprised to find other prominent languages among your audience.

3. Go deeper with the data.

All right, now that you have some basic data as well as your brand position statement that tells you who your brand is for, it is now time to go deeper with the data. This is where the platforms you have been using to promote your content can come into play in a major way.

Facebook offers audience insights in its Business Manager that helps you get to know your audience’s interests and mindsets. Perhaps the “Page Like” section of Business Manager is the most telling as you determine your audience mindsets.

Some of the “page like” information that can be gleaned from this section includes:

  • Politician: Understanding the most-followed politician by your audience should tell you a lot about the mindset of your audience on issues related to financial priorities, moral issues, and other domestic and foreign issues.
  • Nonprofit organization: Understanding the nonprofit organization your audience follows also is helpful for determining mindsets. Consider what you learn if your audience follows UNICEF, American Red Cross, the ACLU, American Heart Association, or Mayo Clinic.
  • News and Media Website: Certainly, you can learn a few things that will help your audience targeting and allow you to understand what kind of content your audience is looking for if you determine the websites they most like. Think of the potential difference in mindsets of audiences who follow BuzzFeed, Fox News, or the Onion.
  • Public Figure: Who does your audience aspire to hear from? Whose thinking aligns with theirs? Dave Ramsey? The Dalai Lama? Mike Rowe?

How to dig deeper with audience targeting: Draft your audience mindset statement.

4. Draft your audience mindset statement.

Now that you have your positioning statement and you have compiled basic data as well as deeper data, it is time for you to draft an audience mindset statement. The audience mindset statement should pull from each of the first three items discussed above — specifically, who your brand is here for, basic demographic information, and deeper data.

You may choose to make an audience mindset statement that is as simple as a couple of sentences or as detailed as a bulleted list. If you find the mindsets to whom you want to target your messaging are nuanced and different, a bulleted list may be your best bet.

An example of some of the bullets might look something like this:

  • One segment of our audience values financial independence, family connections, and timely information.
  • Another segment of the audience appreciates the ability to learn new things, appreciates expert sources, and wants to make up their own minds.
  • A third audience desires connection with friends, likes to make peace, and has interest in volunteering.

These audience mindset statements will vary widely from organization to organization. With these statements, you can truly start to hone in on communicating to mindsets in your audience targeting. Without it, you will continue to lack the focus needed to drive your marketing efforts to the next level. You may want to give short identifying names to your different mindsets to help you and those in your organization to easily converse about them.

5. Target, test, repeat.

Now that you know the audience mindsets you want to target, you need to learn if the content you are developing truly aligns with what they want to consume. Testing Theory’s Rhett Norton explains there are four key elements to running an effective A/B test in which a clear winner can be called every time.

  1. Sufficient data. “Sufficient data is when you have enough conversions to have a good representative sample for your site.”
  2. Consistent data. “For a test to be a winner, it needs to be winning consistently — and I like to see it winning for at least five straight days.”
  3. Differentiated data. “To have differentiated data, you have to have a lift that is above the variance for that site.”
  4. Statistical confidence. “When you have these three things, you’ll likely have statistical confidence and you can say ‘I have run my test long enough’ and ‘I can declare a winner.”

Once you have tested in a way that is leading you toward consistently accurate results with one mindset, start with a new mindset and test your assumptions with them too. You should always be testing something, but if you do the heavy testing early, subsequent tests can simply help you understand even more nuances.

6. Learn from the competition.

Invariably, you are going to have competitors who are trying to do some of the same kind of audience targeting based on mindsets that you are doing. Don’t just observe what they are doing — learn from what they are doing.

As you follow your competitors’ marketing efforts, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Is my competitor targeting the same mindsets I am?
  2. Are they focused on reaching mindsets I didn’t previously consider?
  3. Do their mindset marketing efforts appear to be effective? Why or why not?

Keep a log and document what you are seeing. Soon, you will begin to see trends that will help you learn and make adjustments to your own efforts.

How to dig deeper with audience targeting: Revisit your mindsets periodically.

7. Revisit your mindsets periodically.

Nothing about your mindset marketing efforts should feel set in stone. While it is true that platforms and technologies will change over time, perhaps this is not the most important thing to pay attention to in the long-term.

The most valid reason for periodically revisiting your assumption about mindsets is that your audience — and their mindsets — will change over time. Cultural, economic, political, and social changes all can have a significant effect on the mindsets of your audience and how you look at your audience targeting efforts.

Find more helpful articles about targeting and reaching your audiences on the ClearVoice blog.

Cultural, economic, political, and social changes all can have a significant effect on the mindsets of your audience and how you look at your #audiencetargeting efforts. #marketing Click To Tweet

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Chad Buleen

About Chad

Chad Buleen is an award-winning journalist, the manager of social messaging for a large international nonprofit, a digital media enthusiast and father of four. Follow him on Twitter .

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