how to define your

target audience


If we had a nickel for every time we asked a nonprofit who they wanted to reach, and their answer was “everyone,” well, we could take that team retreat to the Bahamas we’ve always dreamed about. Why is it bad to appeal to everyone? Doesn’t that mean more chances to attract donors? Not always.

Take a moment to consider the two websites shown below.

Very different, right? Do Something is tailored to a younger audience and donor base, while Feeding America is more traditional for an older donor base. When you can nail down what type of person will be most inspired by your mission, you can zero in on the messages they respond to. Then you can get the most ROI from your touchpoints with them.

When brands try to appeal to every waking person, what results is an ugly shade of beige. A blah brand that doesn’t really inspire anyone, because it’s trying too hard to inspire everyone.

Luckily, Scott Allen Creative is an expert at zeroing in on those needle-in-the-haystack people who will latch onto your mission for life. In our process with every nonprofit, we take time to identify those niche people. A tool we love to use is Claritas Prizm Segments. It’s a resource that splits demographics up into 68 categories, conveniently separated by age, socioeconomic status, education, employment, family members, and much more.

We love this tool because it gives educated estimates on what each group values, down to their type of car and favorite TV shows. Scary, right?

Let’s take a look at Segment 28- Country Casuals. Let’s call this couple Jean and Paul Sothers.

“Today, these baby boomer couples enjoy outdoor activities, like hunting and buying locally grown food, but are not likely to be up-to-date on technology.”

Okay, we’ve already learned that a savvy email-campaign might not be the best way to reach Jean and Paul. What else can we gather?

“US Households: 2,321,807
Median Household Income: $76,825″

We won’t be asking for a large, one-time donation from the Sothers. They would most likely respond to a planned giving campaign.

On the weekends, Paul goes hunting and watches NASCAR with his buddies, while Jean shops at the local Dillard’s. While this is less of an obvious clue, it might point us in the direction of some nonprofits that they would support, such as Neighborworks or Salvation Army.

To proactively market Jean and Paul, we would recommend sending out a mailer or newsletter to them during the week with some information on how to join a planned giving program. Bam! Your marketing dollars being spent intelligently.

Take a moment to explore the Claritas demographic segments on your own. Does your nonprofit have 2-3 specific segments you are targeting? Do you need some help figuring out who they are? Give us a call, we would love to help!

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