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Don’t Think of Your Target Audience as a Noun


Of anyone, I know that building a small, service-oriented business is hard work. I’ve had three businesses, including two very different approaches to web development. All three have been service focused. Each has been successful. And all have required quite a bit of effort to plan, build and grow.

Of course, currently, I help small and independent professional businesses plan, develop, build and grow their business through the internet. I help my clients refocus their business objectives and marketing strategies to incorporate the web. Ideally, their websites and blogs become a hub for meeting and converting their target audience.

But here, many make a critical mistake. They think of their target audience (or target market) simply as a name for the group of people they’re trying to serve. In other words, they think of target audience as being a noun. If you remember your Schoolhouse Rock, “a noun is a person, place or thing.” It simply names.

What a noun doesn’t do is describe - that would be an adjective. Nor does it speak to action - that would be a verb.

I like to think of the terms target audience or target market less nouns and more a verbs.

Think about it. What’s the most effective way to look at the term target audience? As a noun - something named, or as a verb - an action?

I see it as an action. Why? Because I know that just naming a group of people doesn’t mean that I’ll reach that group. I have to do something. I have to act. I have to make an effort to reach this group. That’s why I see target audience as a verb. And it’s served me well.

Rather than seeing my target audience simply as a group I’ve named that my business needs to reach. I see them as the the actions I need to take. Subtle difference, but an important one.

One of the mistakes I’ve seen businesses make over and again is putting up a website and then expecting their target market to just ’show up.’ But it doesn’t work that way. You have to actively work to reach your target marketing. In other words, you have to put it in action.

So for me, it’s a great reminder to think of my target audience as a verb - a phrase that describes an action. You could say that target(ing) is the action. But so is audience because I think of audience as someone I need to actively listen too and work to connect with them to listen to me. Again…action is the key.

It’s a matter of reference. It’s a reminder that I have to be in action.

So what does target audience mean to you? And how do you act on it?

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    On January 23rd, 2008 at 3:05 pm, Lis Garrett said:

    WOW! I have to admit that I am one of those people who thinks of “target audience” as a noun. No wonder I feel frustrated when it seems as though I’m not reaching anyone (new). Time to approach things differently. Thanks for the lightbulb moment.

    On January 23rd, 2008 at 4:49 pm, Anthony Lawrence said:

    I don’t even like the word “target”. See my

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