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How well do you really know your target audience? (and why staying surface-level will lose you sales)

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Know your audience. You’ve probably heard this countless times before. In fact, it’s banded around so much that it’s almost become a bit meaningless. It’s one of those marketing lines we hear so often that we assume we must know what we’re doing with it, because it sounds so familiar to us.

All too often we see brands relying on assumptions about their audience when it comes to making marketing decisions, rather than facts. Which isn’t smart, because as any marketer will tell you, the foundation of a successful marketing campaign is knowing who you’re trying to reach.

Let’s not forget, the whole point of marketing is to connect with people who need your help, to capture their interest, and turn them into paying customers. If you want your brand to shine and be the one that catches your ideal customer’s eye, surface-level marketing is not going to cut it. If you don’t know your audience well enough, you end up with ‘vanilla’ marketing, making it difficult to stand out and connect with your audience.

But, what does it really mean to know your audience? And how do you get to the point when you know them so well that you know exactly what to say in your marketing to make them sit up and notice your business?

First, let’s look at where most people start when it comes to figuring out your ideal customer and why it’s often wasted effort:

Common Q) “How can we understand our customers better?”.

Common A)You need to build a buyer persona!”

Which might end up looking something like this:

smiling women seated in office chairName: Procurement Pamela
Roles: Procurement Manager, Excel Whizz, Social Events Organiser
Age: 40 – 55
Income: £55,000
Education: Degree
Location: West Berkshire, UK

Story: ​​Procurement Pamela is a mum of teens who lives in a small market town in West Berkshire. She’s married and lives with her two kids, 3 dogs and a flock of chickens. She is degree-educated, earns £55k a year, and cycles to work most days. She’s worked for the company for over 20 years, manages a small team and reports to the CEO. She drinks peppermint tea and is partial to one too many bourbons.


As you can see, we have a fair bit of information about Pamela. But if you wanted to write a valuable piece of marketing content informed by this persona, where would you start? The truth is it would be difficult because we know very little about her that actually matters.

What tasks does she struggle with day to day? Where are her biggest frustrations? What work does she love doing? What motivates her? What are her goals?

Answers to these questions are going to be a lot more valuable when it comes to providing insights for your marketing. Getting to know your ideal customer is about way more than just the demographics.

Once you know what Pamela struggles with, you can position your offering as an answer to her problems so she can see how you could make her life easier. If you know what she loves, you can show her how what you offer helps her do more of that.

Building a buyer persona can absolutely be valuable to your marketing. If it includes the right information. It’s just that…they often don’t.

Here’s an example of what ‘the right information’ looks like when building your ideal customer profile:

(Sound familiar? It’s a snapshot of one of onebite’s own ideal client personas!)


Senior Marketing Manager, Marketing Manager, Senior Campaigns Manager, Field Marketing Manager.


B2B telecoms and technology businesses.


  • Prove ROI on marketing spend
  • Getting enough resources to deliver
  • Career progression – e.g. to Head of, Director, CMO
  • Get enough resources to deliver objectives
  • Drive efficiency within marketing team
  • Secure more budget to achieve targets
  • Elevate marketing’s reputation – vital to achieve strategic goals (vs seen as colouring in dept…)
  • Grow marketing team’s skills
  • Recruit best talent into the marketing team

Motivations / Attitudes:

  • Wants an easier life – doesn’t want an agency partner who creates more pain
  • Getting channels work together (omni-channel marketing)
  • Keeping costs lower and controlling costs
  • Increasing pace of growth – exceeding ambitious targets


  • Not enough resource to deliver objectives – often relying on internal colleagues as well as agency support
  • High stakeholder expectations
  • Reporting to stakeholders who don’t get marketing
  • Understanding which marketing channels to invest in (and in what order) to achieve business goals
  • How to measure exact impact of each channel
  • When’s the right time to recruit, how find the right people and keep them


You see… not a favourite snack or TV show in sight!

But how do you find the right information? The information that’s going to help you create a stand out message?

I’ll give you a clue… It doesn’t come from your copywriter. Or any marketer, in fact.

It comes directly from the mouths of your customers.

All you need to do is get your audience to tell you about their problems in their own words.

Here are 3 simple ways to get to know your audience better:

1) Have more real life conversations with your customers

Want to know what really matters to your customers? Ask them! It sounds so obvious but so many brands forget to do this. There really is no substitute for real, live conversations with real, live people. And it’s in their best interest to give feedback to you because the more you learn from them, the more they get to help shape how you service them. These can either be casual conversations, or more structured research sessions.

2) Social listening

Any place your audience talks about their problems is a source of information for your marketing, for example in relevant LinkedIn or Facebook Groups, Reddit, Quora or online forums. There are lots of tools out there designed to do the heavy lifting for you by automating the tracking and monitoring of keywords, like your brand name, specific pain points you know your ideal customer has, and general industry chat. This provides a great ‘fly on the wall’ opportunity to learn about what really matters to your ideal customer, and how they feel about their pain points.

3) Review mining

Observing online reviews of the types of products and services you offer can provide a useful source of voice-of-customer language. When people leave reviews (positive or negative) they usually include things like:

  • What they liked about the product or service
  • The specific problem that they wanted to solve
  • How they were able to solve their problem
  • Other features they wished it included

You can use review mining on Amazon reviews, Trustpilot, or anywhere else that your audience leaves reviews online.

A super simple way to start is to Google “[your product category] reviews”.

At onebite we’ve worked with a number of brands in the telecoms and tech space who know their ideal customer exceptionally well.

Here are some of the benefits of going deeper when getting to know your ideal customer:

Content that builds connection

By getting to know your ideal customer at a much deeper level, you get to learn exactly what to say in your content. So much so it feels to your audience like you really get what’s going on for them (because you do!), almost like you’re entering a conversation already going on in their head.

More leads

It’s simple. Connecting more deeply with your ideal customer by serving them content they resonate with and captures their interest, results in more sales leads.

Supporting your customers’ buying journey

Every customer who buys from you goes on a journey to get to that point – the steps they take from the point they become aware of your brand for the very first time, through to becoming a paying customer. By knowing your ideal customer inside out, it means you can get more strategic with your content, while delivering an excellent experience for your customers. You can meet them where they are and go deeper on the topics that really matter to them at that stage of their journey.

Increase conversions and shorten your sales cycle

Trust plays a huge part in a prospect’s buying decision. By focusing on building trust with your audience so they have little or no doubt that you can deliver the outcome they need, it not only increases the number of leads that convert into paying customers, but also helps to shorten the sales cycle – you become the obvious choice for them.

Gain valuable insights to drive product and service development

Customer insight isn’t just for helping you shape your marketing content; it can help drive the development of existing and new services or products. As marketing guru Seth Godin said “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers” ….

Key take away

Knowing who you’re selling to (like, really knowing them) is as important as knowing what you’re selling. Once you’re clear on who you’re looking for everything else becomes easier; where to find them, what to say to them, and ultimately, how to convert them into paying customers.

If you’re serious about elevating your brand above your competition, get in touch today.

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