Understanding your audience is so important to drive business results, but what are the best ways to do that? To discuss the topic, Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro, joins us on an episode of “Marketing, Demystified.”
Specifically, we discuss:
- What are the key factors to understanding customers?
- How can you use data to understand your audience better?
- What common mistakes do businesses make when trying to understand their audience?
- How can you use social media to learn more about your audience?
- How can you measure the success of your efforts to understand your audience?
With advances in technology, good marketing attribution and a wide array of research techniques that can be used it’s easier than ever to know what our ideal customer is about and how we can make their lives easier. Of course, just because it’s possible, that doesn’t mean it’s always executed as well as it
Why is understanding your audience so important?
On the most basic level, it’s hard to product products or services if companies don’t understand their customers. That includes their problems, their routines and opinions. How can I sell you an apple if I don’t know anything about your nutritional routine, for example.
To know what consumers’ issues are and how you can solve them and keep solving them all goes into understand your ideal customer profile, which we discuss in this episode.
Why Understanding Your Audience is Crucial
Marketing’s main function is to deeply understand customers in order to reach them with the right messaging, in the right places, at the right times. You can’t do this well without knowing your audience.
Many founders and marketers fear talking to customers directly. A solution is to hire someone else to conduct customer research so you get an unbiased perspective.
Objections like “we don’t have time” or “we already understand our audience” should be overcome. Failing fast on your own terms can lead to learning moments later on.
How to Learn About Your Audience
The main methods are:
- analyzing data at scale (passively collected online data)
Data at scale from internet activity provides real behavior from many people. Surveys and interviews rely on imperfect human recall, which can be overcome with proper transcription.
Look at LinkedIn profiles, Twitter feeds, YouTube subscriptions, etc. to see what your audience pays attention to. Use tools like SparkToro to automate this research.
Ask broader questions beyond just your product, like “what problem are you trying to solve?” so you understand the full context.
Common Mistakes and Challenges
Only surveying/interviewing existing customers leads to bias and missing potential new audiences.
Relying too much on “how did you hear about us?” survey data after purchase is problematic due to recall bias.
Viewing audience research as just a marketing concern rather than involving product. The two must work together.
Loss of accurate attribution data as privacy increases makes measuring impact harder. Solutions are increased branding measurement and implied attribution.
In summary, the episode emphasizes doing extensive research through multiple methods to truly understand your target audience. This knowledge allows you to create effective messaging and outreach. Ongoing research is crucial as audiences change over time. Avoid biased data and make sure to understand the full context around the problem you help solve. Use a blend of direct outreach and data analysis to build a complete picture of who you want to reach.