Introduction to Audience Profiles

Whether you are a startup or an established business, you must have encountered a scenario along these lines: everything is going smoothly, you have a product or a service prepared to market, so you sit down to consider... what now? What’s next?

That next step—or rather, the first step—is to figure out how to present your goods and your business to the world. More specifically, you must figure out to whom you should be marketing yourselves.

This is where marketing truly starts. With the creation of an audience profile.

Defining Audience Profiles

An audience profile (also known as an audience persona or target audience profile) is an example of an individual within your overall customer base.

Term-wise, a target audience is different from a target market as the latter refers to a wider, more varied collection of potential clients, consumers and buyers. A target audience is essentially a specific group within a target market. For example, your target market might be people interested or involved in sporting activities, while your target audience narrows down to adolescent children who play football.

Audience profiles also differ from buyer profiles. A buyer profile, as the term indicates, specifically sketches out an individual who is most likely to buy your goods or services, or otherwise has the capability to do so in a financial or business sense. An audience profile, in comparison, can encompass not just a buyer but also influencers and potential customers in general, depending on whether they share characteristics.

As such, an audience profile describes a specific sample of your expected clientele. This profile can cover subsets of your target market that happen to overlap with each other, but is nonetheless detailed to the point that one can reasonably envision an actual person, their thoughts and their behaviors as described in the audience profile.

Where to Find Reliable Data Sources?

To formulate an audience profile, one must know what is included in it. Since an audience profile is, essentially, a description of a person, the various details that can be researched and included range from demographic to psychological or psychographic in nature.

Details can include age, gender and occupation as demographic information, while desires and problems with a particular product or service can be counted as psychographic information.

But that is just the basics. An audience profile can be detailed enough to include hobbies, moral values, as well as interests and dilemmas in one’s work or personal life. A profile can also describe a hypothetical lifestyle, with details such as daily routines, spending habits, average income, geographical residence, education level, etc.

Some of these details can be inferred from the get-go. The rest, however, can require an intensive amount of research.

Depending on how established your business is, you may be able to research the relevant details through your current clientele. You can reach out to them via surveys and questionnaires to develop an up-to-date impression of your customers, including their needs and expectations. Depending on your preferred software or analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, you may also be able to get this information simply through channels like your website traffic.

But in most cases, it is easier to rely on public databases of demographic information from local and government organizations.

For example, most cities have a government-supported open data portal (i.e., an online public database) such as the one maintained by the City of Vancouver.

Additionally, local organizations may collaborate to collect and analyze demographic and market information on select neighborhoods, such Bizmap in Vancouver. Furthermore, international companies such as target="_blank">Esri maintain a top-level comprehensive list of demographic groups in various countries, including Canada.

Example Audience Profile Template

A template for an audience profile can include a variety of information with varying levels of detail. In general, however, a basic template tends to consider the following:

  • Demographics (Age, Gender, Occupation)

  • Psychographics (Links, Dislikes, Hobbies, Values)

  • Desires & Troubles (Wants & Struggles)

  • Platforms & Media (Favorite Websites, Apps, and Frequented Locations offline)

Here is an example of an audience profile specifically targeting social media managers:

In most cases, a basic template can still be tweaked and tailored towards the specific product, service or customer type you are looking at.

How Audience Profiles are Used in Marketing

Marketing is only successful when you know who to market yourselves to. After all, not everyone needs your product or service. In that way, an audience profile is a mandatory step in the marketing process.

By knowing who you want to sell your products or services to, you can grasp an idea of where and what to include in your marketing efforts. For example, if your profile describes a well-educated millennial who supports progressive ideals, you might consider bolstering your presence on social media with witty posts highlighting the ecofriendly aspects of your product.

With more details in your audience profile, the more specific your marketing choices can be. Some practical applications of an audience profile include:

  1. Creating separate groups to target via email marketing

  2. Testing the visual design of your website to match various preferences

  3. Reaching out to your customers through preferred channels at appropriate times (e.g., a seasoned office worker would be more receptive to a phone call after work hours)

  4. Reaching out to appropriate media channels to advertise your products or services through.

In that regard, an audience profile affects everything, small or big: from the exact wording on your website to the variety of platforms where you choose to advertise yourself. It would not be farfetched at all to say that the very process of business is only possible when you understand how to market yourself to the world around you.

And that entails knowing what the world itself is like. Which might seem like a daunting task to look over—the world is a pretty big place, after all—but that is what consultants like us are here for.

With Sharp & Bell Consulting, we guarantee a fine-tuned process that reviews your target market to draw up an array of audience profiles that suit your business. From there, we offer consultation and management of a multi-channel, engaging campaign that meets your current needs. We’re only a quick chat away—so don’t wait, call us today.

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