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Expanding Your Target Market: How Far Should You Go?

August 16th, 2018   ||    by Melanie Brown

The rise of audience-based buying has the entire advertising ecosystem atwitter about granular data, niche audiences, and one-to-one targeting. It’s clear from myriad conferences and trade publications that the era of age and gender is over, and we’re now approaching a golden age of target audiences.

But what about expanding your target market?

Precision Targeting

For the most part, the advertising industry is embracing the ability to target messaging to an exact audience and transact across those channels. That ability is not just new and exciting, but more effective by leaps and bounds than the old “spray and pray” method. But when is audience targeting too granular?

With data points on our side, we’re able to shave down a traditionally broad audience segment—like “women aged 25-54″—to a precision demo of women over 25 who are the sole income earner in a household, and whose brand affinities include Coach, Starbucks, and Audi. Precision targeting can be valuable for a number of reasons, but in the search for increasingly exact audiences, advertisers can be missing the forest for the trees.

Expanding Your Target Market

In some cases, bigger may be better. Although there is something to be said for hitting the precise audience with a data-driven buy, brands and companies have to try to expand their audiences as well. Just as companies rarely stop innovating or developing new products and services under their umbrella, they also need to continue to discover who the right people are for those new developments.

Expanding your target market can also be done with data; there’s nothing out there that dictates that you have to go back to the drawing board of Nielsen age and gender with every attempt to find a growing audience.

For new products, the sky’s the limit. Who are you hoping to reach with your product, and who would be nice to have? When you have a new offering or a broad use case for your product or service, a wider target helps to provide a baseline for the more nuanced precision buys.

Even for an existing and successful product, a new audience can be found by approaching the target market with different data sources. If you used purchase data in the past, try expanding that purchase data by cross-referencing some of the brands that have been identified with other data sources. Maybe location data or social media data—something that will add a new layer to your media plan and help to create a target audience that encompasses everyone with the potential to be in your market.

Just because the industry is touting tighter and tighter boundaries on the audiences to reach doesn’t mean that you’re bound to those tiny audiences. Expanding your target market can be hugely necessary, and when done right, incredibly valuable.

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