Truly Understanding Your Target Audience


“Behind every decision to buy –whether the item is a service or a product, an argument or an idea—is an unspoken emotional motivation. This is the hidden agenda,” writes business development expert and long time advertising professional, Kevin Allen, in his insightful book The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following.

The author describes how important it is for companies and brands to make a connection with their followers through discovering and understanding the hidden agenda of their customers.

One area of the book that can be really beneficial is his take on targeting. A lot of times we get hung up in the analytical side of targeting, and lose a powerful side of targeting which is the more emotional, creative, and aspirational in focus.

Taking a cue from politics, Allen develops the notion of the conceptual target—a way by which you can develop a powerful emotional definition of your audience. An example would be a “Soccer Mom.” This singular concept nicely sums up the motivations and aspirations of the target, and provides instant demographic and psychographic sensibilities.

Allen says, “In the pursuit of the Marriott business, no matter whether the person was staying at the JW, their topflight property, and spending several hundred dollars a night, or they were staying at Fairfield, the emotional composition of that audience were called Road Warriors, people who are out there selling for their companies.”

For business marketers, there is a lot to learn by rounding out our audience understanding in a more creative, conceptual and aspirational way.

And for fun, and outstanding commercial taking the emotional/aspirational approach: