Marketing Formula 101: Audience Targeting

Who Do You Want To Talk To?


The Key Role of Audience Targeting

The first major element of our Basic Marketing Formula considers audience targeting.  In other words, first answer the question, “Who do you want to talk to?”

Consider your best prospects for growing your business.  Who are they?  What are some of their defining characteristics?

Methods of Targeting

We often consider audience targeting from two distinct perspectives.

First, who are today’s best customers?  By that we mean to ask, who are the customers like whom you’d love to have a lot more?

The most common way we determine a profile of your existing, best customers is a concept called creating look-a-like audiences.  Essentially, this is using your existing customers to define a universe of similar people who are most likely to also become customers in the future.

Second, who are the best customers you’re not getting?  Asked another way, if your existing customers aren’t the only ideal customers, who is?

Defining Your Audience Target(s)

As we hone in on your target audience(s), here is a list of common characteristics:

  • Geography
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Own/Rent
  • Home Value
  • Children of Certain Ages
  • Vehicles Owned
  • Past Purchasing Behavior
  • Past Locations Visited
  • Search History
  • Hobbies
  • Job/Industry

This list is by no means exhaustive, and if you’re a B2B seller (Business-To-Business) versus B2C (Business-To-Consumer), your list of characteristics might look more like this:

  • Geography
  • Company Size
  • Industry (SIC Codes)
  • Role in the Business
  • Job Title
  • Annual Revenue
  • Number of Employees

Again, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  But you get the idea.

How Targeting Fits Into the Overall Marketing Formula

As you consider targeting, realize it’s only 1 element in our basic marketing formula:


Once you know who you want to talk to, the next step in the process is to determine what you want to say to them.  We explore that further in this related post.

Here is a quick reference to all the posts in this Marketing Formula 101 series:


MESSAGING (The Next Post in This Series)




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If you’d like to talk more about our Basic Marketing Formula, we’re always happy to schedule a free initial marketing consultation.  Or connect with us in whatever way works best for you.

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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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