One of the most difficult questions to answer, for clients, and even marketers sometimes: how do we identify the correct target audience? The knee-jerk reaction to the question "who do you want to reach?" is often "everyone", but this is just not feasible. We've unpacked the steps that we take to identify a target audience in one of our primary verticals: senior living. Read on for the questions to ask yourself and your team about target audiences.
1 – Identify Your Most Likely Audience(s)
As the marketing executive, your primary role is to promote the facility within the market to increase referrals into the home. You have to create relationships with hospitals, doctors and the community at large. When you think about the audience that is not already in health care, you likely have at least two. If you host rehab patients, they may largely make their own determinations as to where they want to do there rehabbing. And then there are the folks that have a parent in failing health. There’s three audiences, right out of the gate.
2 – Identify The Criteria That Makes The Most Sense To Qualify Your Target
Within the audience groups, you will want to determine what factors make someone more or less likely to consider your facility when its time to pick. You can sort by almost any criteria, so it’s crucial to understand and identify what makes someone choose you over the alternative. Defining the age, or gender, or home geography or other qualities of your target persona(s) will help you connect in a meaningful way.
Another way to think of this step is building a persona or drawing a picture of who your audience looks like. Let's take the example of the older person having hip surgery and recovery and rehab at home is out of the question. What factors go into them choosing your facility? Insurance factors? Income? How close is it to other people in the family? Once you know whats important you can figure out how to connect with this audience.
3 – Identify The Message That Will Resonate With Each Audience
This comes down to really understanding what potential patients or their family members want from you. Do they want a slew of amenities (wifi, nail salon, personalized diets)? Even though you live and breath your brand every day, you may not see your brand as clearly and as unbiased as people in the market do (both the professional healthcare workers and patients and their families).
Getting out of your own head and getting feedback from real people is critical to understanding the good and bad of your brand and by using outside research tools to hear from your (segmented) audience, you can craft the message that speaks to them.
4 – Determine When The Best Time To Connect With Your Audience Will Be
Everyone has heard “right message, right time” in marketing, while you never want to have wasted efforts – what if you are paying for the message? If you have a paid media campaign to support your marketing efforts, flighting is imperative – unless you are one of the rare marketing departments with unlimited funds for advertising(LOL).
Thinking about our two main audiences that we might want to reach through mass media (potential patients and their families), when do you think they are thinking about needing your services? Maybe around the holidays? When the families get together and can see how Mom or Dad is not getting around so well? For the patients planning surgery, there’s probably a lot less specific timing other than when are they planning their surgery. Understanding the difference between these two decision makers will help you determine what message (creative) to run when.
5 – Determine Tactics That Make The Most Sense
Determining tactics differs from determining the message. Now that you know how to reach your audience, the question is how. The great news is after all of the hard work you’ve done to get this far; this one isn’t hard.
This is a data question. What does the data tell us about how your different audiences consume media? You want to be sure that you aren’t acting as a focus group of one, or asking a few people you know how they get their news and entertainment. If you are working with an agency, there should be qualitative data as part of your plan that is used to align tactics with your target audiences. Once tactics are chosen your team can dive into ratings to pick exactly the right stations and dayparts.