Don’t depend on assumptions: Understanding your target audience  

James Galilee

Posted by James Galilee 17th April 2020 Tips and advice

Tips and advice

Ever been on the receiving end of a false assumption? Or been the person assuming something of someone else, and been proved wrong? 

When it comes to people, it’s generally wise not to actually assume anything. And this is a common mistake in advertising. When targeting a specific audience, tactics often fail for the precise reason that they’re built around a hunch that isn’t backed up by thorough evidence.

Here, we dive into some of the issues you may face with assumptions – especially when you’re targeting audiences in different territories.

The problem of assumptions

Let’s start with the obvious shortcoming of assumptions: you can cause offence. The drunken Irish stereotype is well known – but that doesn’t mean that every Irish person even drinks alcohol, let alone gets drunk. Put this in your marketing, and you’re almost certain to receive bad feedback. 

Then there’s the fact that it can actually be harmful. A very specific case is gender stereotypes in advertising. It’s led to not only offence, but has contributed to how people perceive their gender and therefore their gender role, resulting in them feeling limited in their options, aspirations and acceptable behaviours. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is taking action in response, having enforced new standards in 2019.

Making assumptions may also mean that you don’t meet your actual audience’s needs. You can have a picture in your head of who they are, but if your ideas aren’t correct and you target in line with this false image, then your advertising is futile. It wastes effort, time and money.

The key is to ensure you can answer your audience’s queries – you need to know them as well as you possibly can. If you can solve their problem, then you’ll capture their attention. This then allows you to have a great conversation with your audience, increasing the chances of ad campaign success.

Targeting different territories

If you’re selling to one audience, surely another is pretty much the same? This isn’t the case for any market – least of all when you target a different country. Unfortunately, assumptions are still all too prevalent when advertising to different markets. What you think may not actually translate into reality.

For example, many territories are happy to buy online and have no reservations about it whatsoever. However, this doesn’t apply to France. They’re actually known for being cautious, having a partiality for using trusted marketplaces such as Amazon and Cdiscount. So, if your paid media strategy includes a drive to purchasing online, you’d need to make sure it’s a method the French market can have trust in.

How you write the ad itself can additionally impact its effectiveness from country to country. Word capitalisation makes headlines more effective across the English market, but this doesn’t always ring true for a Spanish audience. It completely depends on the client and industry in Spain. 

There are many nuances just like this across the entire world. But if you can’t use assumptions, what can you use to target your audience?

An alternative to assumptions

The problem isn’t with having an assumption – the problem is not having grounding for each one. That’s why further research is always needed, whether you noticed a trend that has led you to believe in the assumption or have been working in your industry for a long time and think you know your audience

Dig a little deeper. Explore around the subject, or study your consumers. Get the most accurate and comprehensive insights possible. Things change as well, remember – it could be that your audience’s main problem has shifted over the years. So ensure you’re doing this research regularly to stay well informed.

This requires an incredibly in-depth approach. Too many opt for simple surveys which ask very basic questions, and don’t actually uncover anything useful about your audience. To be able to create hyper-targeted campaigns, you need to know your audience like the back of your hand.

Gaining audience insights with Clickoo

So, what do you need to know? There’s the audience’s motivations for buying , along with the thoughts and steps that go into their decision. Then there’s the message itself – you’ll need to think about which conversational methods you should use. The creative will be core too; markets can really differ in how they respond to aspects such as colour and imagery.

We imagine you’re already a bit overwhelmed with the information to collect – and that’s really only scratching the surface! But you don’t need to feel like this. You can instead bring a partner on board to do all the work involved in paid media localisation for you. By relying on an international agency like us, you’ll save a tremendous amount of time and effort, as well as ensure the most favourable outcomes for your campaigns.

Clickoo have been pulling together different audience insights for years. Our team has the necessary resources and paid media knowledge to ensure we build localised, strategic and hyper-targeted campaigns for our clients every time. 
We’re always thinking ahead too. We’ll do whatever it takes to move you further along the path towards your growth targets. To see your brand expand at an accelerated level, get in touch with our team today.

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