How to Find Your Audience with Media Research

One of the biggest challenges with buying media that will reach your audience is knowing your ideal customer.

Marketers have difficulties targeting the right audience even when they have been selling a product for years. The obstacles only grow larger when they are selling a new product or offering a product that is suited to the mass market.

That’s where media research comes in. Marketers work with media planners like Capital Media Solutions to define who is most likely to buy and use their products and to select the appropriate publications and outlets for ads. With new products, planners can help figure out who specifically the marketer should be targeting. With mass market products, they can narrow a large consumer base and determine the best allocation of ad spend.

How Media Buying Research Works

The specific tools for finding a target audience vary by medium, but the methodology is the same: assess potential audiences, understand their behavior, and choosing the audience that is the best fit for the product.

Assessment tools like the ones that we employ give us insights into who is searching online for, purchasing, and discussing your products. We gather data on:

  • Demographic characteristics like age, income, and education.
  • Geographic location from the local to national levels.
  • Audience behavior. We are interested in their personalities: where they shop, what they read and watch, and even their buying behavior.
  • The size of each audience so that we are casting a wide enough net.

We subscribe to a variety of research databases and services that help in collecting this information and keeping it current and relevant. These include:

  • ComScore: Marketing research on digital audiences, including websites, videos, and search.
  • Nielsen: TV and digital ratings and audience data.
  • GfK MRI: Magazine and print audience research.
  • Google Analytics: Website traffic insights.

In traditional ad buys like print media buying and radio media buying, we may also recommend customer feedback to collect audience and behavioral data. This often comes in the form of focus groups and audience surveys.

Once we have gathered the data, our media agency creates several customer personas based upon different combinations of audience features. Then, we recommend media options that fit these personas and that best meet the client’s goals for the ad buy.

Narrowing Your Target Audience for a Mass Market Product

There are some products we all use regardless of age, income, or location. Goods like toothpaste, toilet paper, and gasoline might seem like they can be marketed to everyone and not targeted specifically.

However, this may not be the most cost-effective use of a marketing budget. Television media buying on diverse and mass audience programming, like top-rated shows and the Super Bowl, can cost anywhere from six-figures to the multimillions of dollars.

Companies that can’t afford to make media buys this large should segment the audience by asking two important questions:

  • Who is typically using the product?
  • Is this the same person who is buying it?

Consider the Old Spice “Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaign. The product is for men, but after conducting media research, Old Spice found that women were purchasing most of its men’s grooming products. The company retooled its marketing to target women, and the campaign became a great success, generating more than 1.4 billion earned media impressions and a 300% increase in website traffic. Just as importantly, it increased sales and buzz around a product that has been around for many years.

Defining the Target Audience for a New Product

Another challenge you may face is finding the ideal audience for a new product, since you are starting without a baseline. One work-around: gather audience data on a product similar to the one you are planning. Then, confirm that this is the audience that you want to target:

  • Survey current customers for feedback on your new product.
  • Conduct focus groups about your plans.
  • Provide samples of the new product and gather feedback.

Ask questions like:

  • “Would you buy the product for yourself or someone else?”
  • “What current product is this most similar to?”
  • “How much would you pay for this product?”

This data gathering can help your company evaluate whether the new product you are planning is suited to the audience you intend. As a result, you and your media agency can use this information to make a more effective media buy.

Regardless of whether your product is established, new, or mass market, invest the time and resources to understand your audience. By avoiding assumptions about who your ideal customer is, you’ll improve the chances that your advertising reaches the right person.

Need help defining your target audience? Contact Capitol Media Solutions to utilize our media research and find the ideal customer for your company.

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