In an age of increasing competition and consumer choice advertisers must have a highly developed understanding of the audience (customers or consumers) they want to reach. Audience research is, perhaps, the biggest information gathering task for advertisers. Information about potential or desired audiences is required at every stage of developing an advertising campaign.
The kinds of questions an advertiser will want to answer about their potential audience include:
Who are our current customers? You need to know who you are already reaching, and how to keep them as satisfied customers.
Who are our competitors’ customers? Understanding who uses the competitors’ products or services is key to figuring out how to create a campaign that could convince them to try your company’s products.
What do our desired audience members watch / read? Knowing where to find the kinds of customers you want to attract is an essential part of media buying work. The dollars spent placing advertisements will be thrown away if the message doesn’t reach the audience you desire.
How happy are our customers with our products? Keeping a pulse on consumer attitude and opinion of your product will help to refine the story you want to tell.
You’re producing ads for a new energy drink. What attributes of the drink would you promote if you were placing an ad in Glamour magazine versus a commercial on Duck Dynasty? How would knowing the audience for those media outlets inform you?
Until you have a set of questions to ask about the target audience, you won’t know how to go about finding answers.