Do we need a target audience?

17th September 2020
Posted in Projects
17th September 2020 Stewart Gurney

Do we need a target audience?

Targeting used to be simple. Despite complex segments and attitudinal audiences that advertisers might have created, the reality was we couldn’t find them in media. Until about 5 years ago, media was, by and large, a very blunt instrument. You had to buy against broad demographics and you then might use things like programme mix to be in places your audience were ‘more likely’ to be in. Little did we know back then, but things like broad reach and category level mass targeting actually helped to grow brands. We were saved by medias inability to target effectively.

Thanks to the likes of Byron Sharp,  Les Binet and Peter Field we now know that ensuring we talk to all potential consumers and prioritising mental availability is key for advertising effectiveness. However, the recent developments in targeting technologies and buying models have meant that we can now buy those complex audiences we once created with unprecedented accuracy. This raises the question – ‘just because we can, does that mean we should?’ the question of ‘who are your target audience’ is now much more complex and nuanced than ever before. More than that, getting it wrong could hinder brand growth and advertising effectiveness.

Here are a few tips for advertisers trying to navigate emerging complexities around targeting.

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