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  • Writer's pictureMikaela Bolling

Which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness?

Targeting your audience for the best results

What is the secret to building brand awareness? And how should you target your audience to get the best results?

How do we know which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness? These questions have been pondered by marketers since the dawn of time.

The answer: no one really knows.

Not what you were looking for?

Like so many good questions, the answer is that there are multiple answers.

Trust me, I wish there was one hard-and-fast rule. To explain this further, let’s imagine a metaphorical mountain. At the top of the mountain is your business goal.

The answer to the question “which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness?” is just a pathway towards reaching this goal. Yet, there are many paths to take to climb the mountain.

Recently, I was doing some market research interviewing a few marketers to gain some better insight into how we could improve our services, content and marketing strategies. My favorite thing that was said during those interviews was this well-articulated snippet: Marketing is just a big experiment.

And I couldn’t agree more.

There are people, agencies, and gurus who are convinced that their way is the right way, the only way towards reaching your mountain top through their one way of marketing, targeting, or branding. But let’s be serious… could you probably achieve brand awareness by targeting your audience through:

  • PR? Yes.

  • Social media? Yes.

  • SEO? Yes.

  • Word-of-mouth referrals? Yes.

  • Speaking at events and on podcasts? Also yes.

If there are multiple pathways to getting where you want to go, then how do you decide which one to take without getting lost on your way to the top?

The best marketing strategies truly treat their actions as an experiment. They figure out how they are going to measure results before they even begin. They know that their plans are going to change and adapt based on the results. They ensure they learn and take those learnings forward.

Which experiment should you try first?

So what experiment should you try for the question: which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness?

The first part of the question asks what targeting option to use. This is wildly dependent on what kind of business you are in.

For B2B businesses and consulting firms, targeting options are going to revolve around firmographics and job titles.

For nonprofits, they need to decide what kinds of donors they want to target.

This could range from interest areas to demographic information (like age). The more specific you can be on who your targeted audience is, the better. The best targeting campaigns are ones that layered and target based on a combination of:

  • Firmographics and demographics of your target audience

  • Interest in specific products or services

  • Where they are within the sales funnel

Then content and messaging can be tailored. For example, focusing on a certain person, interested in a certain product, who has been engaging with competitors' websites.

What are you going to say to your targeted audience?

The message is the hidden second part of the question. It should be different for each audience segment. Since brand awareness is at the top of the sales funnel, you’ll be focusing on messaging that helps your audience identify the problem they are facing and that you are the company to help them. You are trying to make them aware of the issues they are having and that you are there to help.

How do you achieve brand awareness?

The third part of the question asks about achieving brand awareness. By this point in the process, you should know who you are targeting and what your message is. Now it’s time to decide what channels are the best for getting your message out to this specific group.

LinkedIn can be a great option for B2B businesses while Instagram may be better for nonprofits. The best campaigns use multiple different channels. Remember that it can take upwards of 7+ touch points for someone seeing a brand or call to action to take action.

Don’t forget to measure!

How will you measure your success for brand awareness? Remember, it’s an experiment—so the scientific method, including modifying your hypotheses after the fact, are important. You can use metrics like impressions, engagement, or even first-hand accounts from your target audience (just ask!).

Before you plan your campaign, ensure your team is on the same page as for what success looks like for brand awareness. And if someone says “sales,” remind them there are multiple stages to the sales and marketing funnel and awareness does not equal sales.

I’ll say it again: marketing is a big experiment. No one knows what exactly is going to work (and if they say do without a doubt, run the other way). Each audience is different, each business is different, each message is different and what worked for someone else may not work for you. The more curiosity you can bring to the process the better.

Our research-based approach ensures we’re always listening and learning.


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