Target Audience Characteristics

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Identifying your customers’ age, sex, marital status or other common characteristics won’t help you sell your product efficiently if you don’t consider multiple demographic traits. Knowing that most of your potential customers are men or single or older might not tell you the characteristic they have that most influences their buying behavior.


A key characteristic of your customer base might be its gender, but this might also be misleading. For example, if you know the vast majority of your customers are women, you might feel it’s necessary to position your product as more feminine than masculine, creating the wrong unique selling proposition if gender isn’t your customers’ key buying demographic. If you continue to examine these women’s characteristics further, you might find they are single, married, seniors, young or mothers. It might be that your target customer is not simply a female, but a mother, requiring that you create a completely different position or brand.


The World War II generation has long since retired, with thousands of baby boomers joining them every day. Generation X is now fulfilling leadership roles in society baby boomers held for decades, while millenials are replacing boomers in the workforce. If it sounds confusing, this is a signal that you need to begin understanding the differences in needs and requirements of these generations to maximize your sales. If you try to sell a product or service to both baby boomers and millenials, you might turn off your younger buyers who might see your company as old or unhip.

Marital/Parental Status

The needs of customers sharing a household and raising children often trump the desires men and women had when they were single. Married women, for example, tend to buy more items for their husbands than vice versa. If you make products for men, consider whether they have a spouse, or even significant other, purchasing for them. While it’s important to entice children with advertising and promotions, their parents spend the money and make the final purchasing decision. If you sell to children, determine whether the mother or father is most likely to make the buying decision and what benefits that parent wants.

Income Level

Knowing the income levels of your customers tells you not only what they can afford, but whether or not status is a factor or if perceived pricing will work. As people’s incomes rise, they are more likely to look for quality and status than just affordability and reliability. Setting your price above your competition not only helps create bigger margins, but it also might entice more sales from affluent consumers who believe your product must be superior if you are charging more for it. If your target customer is lower income, you’ll need to swap high margins for high sales volumes to make your profits.

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