Home Business Insights & Advice The problem with generalisation: Why targeting a specific audience is better than a general one

The problem with generalisation: Why targeting a specific audience is better than a general one

by Sarah Dunsby
17th Jan 23 3:35 pm

When building up a business from scratch, you may have an audience in mind, but is it specific enough to pay dividends in the longer term? Chances are generalisation will be problematic, in that too many different target markets are targeted. In turn, this means you would have to tailor your product or service in a thousand and one different ways.

Needless to say, that is a waste of your time, as well as that of those prospective customers that ultimately aren’t interested in your product or service – not through any malicious means, it probably just isn’t for that kind of target market. If you have a specific idea in mind, then you’re off to a fantastic start.

A fool proof means of targeting involves collecting and segmenting customer data, through which analytics can be your closest friend. But it’s all well and good knowing your data – it’s what you do with it that really counts.

So what is a target audience?

The first step toward defining your target audience is identifying what a target audience is. A target audience is defined as a specific group of people most likely to buy your product or service – and this word specific is very much the key to success here.

A general focus means you’re trying to please all of the people all of the time, which is inevitably impossible. Where it differs from a target market is the specificity of the audience. When looking for your target market, you’ll be seeking a broad group of people who might be interested in your product or service.

The key from that point is working out the target audience from that market, thereby deciding who is ultimately most likely to invest their time and money with you. That is not to say you should turn your back on those outside of your target audience, but a specific audience gives you a specific goal to aim for.

Defining your target audience

The first step toward how you define your target audience is most certainly this aforementioned collection and segmentation of data based on the initial visits of your website, but it would be remiss of you to gloss over the data. Take some time to really examine and analyse certain trends.

Does anything stand out? If so, hone in on that. It could be a case of appealing to one demographic in particular. For now, it perhaps isn’t worth focusing on the demographics that are less catered for. If you pick your specific audience, you can spend a lot more time on marketing to that specific target audience.

It is also worth pointing out that a specific target audience keeps you somewhat grounded, in that you keep your ambitions streamlined and targeted toward a certain goal. This isn’t to say you should have a niche product or service, but you should hone in what truly makes it different from other similar entities on the market.

Specificity is king in the modern marketplace, though this should not be seen as limiting the scope of your business. Think of it like a literal target, through which you only succeed if your arrow hits the bullseye.

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