As a graphic designer, you play an integral role in how successful marketing campaigns are for whomever you’re working with. Your effort and intention are critical even as you market to your own ideal clients.
However, many marketers and designers only look to other industry professionals for marketing advice, trends, and best practices. And unfortunately, when they do this, they neglect the actual needs and desires of the target audience.
By immersing yourself in audience needs and desires, you can create engaging, meaningful, and impactful campaigns that truly resonate with the audience and result in overall marketing success.
Let’s look at the power of looking to your actual audience for marketing guidance rather than leaning solely on other marketers and designers for advice.
Looking Toward Your Actual Audience for Marketing Guidance
Marketing is critical no matter the industry a business is in. More importantly, though, you must know your target audience, whether it’s a creative industry like entertainment or advertising or a more high-stakes one like healthcare or education.
For example, let’s say you’re working on marketing materials for a client in the mental health sector who wants to reach more BIPOC patients.
The only way to make an emotional connection with this audience and reach them with your marketing content is to listen to the needs and desires of this community.
Getting into their brains and hearts instead of asking your marketing buddies what they’ve done to reach this community will lead to a more genuine connection that leads to real marketing results.
Rather than leaning on marketing and design professionals for advice on marketing to a particular audience, rely on the target audience.
Tips for Creating Meaningful Marketing Materials
Creating marketing materials that are meaningful to the communities that will see them requires much effort, intention, and strategy.
It also requires you to truly understand and value your target audience. The following tips can help you with all of the above.
Don’t go by what you think
First, it’s essential to get away from what you think. What you think your target audience wants and needs may not be anything close to what they really need and desire.
Always go by what the target audience says, what the analytics reveal, and what the brand knows about its target audience rather than your own perspective.
Dig into the brand
Your target audience should be your primary focus. However, digging into the brand you’re working with is essential for creating more impactful campaigns. If the brand thinks its target audience wants one thing when they want another, your campaigns will always feel disconnected.
On the other hand, when a brand is aligned with its target audience, it’ll be easier for you to create campaigns that don’t just honor the brand but honor its audience as well.
So, dig deep into the brand’s mission, vision, and values to tell a story. Learn how it views its target audience, too.
Do manual target audience research
Manual target audience research should always be a part of your efforts, whether you’ve launched campaigns and can use analytics or not. Analytics tools don’t pick up everything. So, it’s essential to comb through details about your target audience on your own.
It’s all about forming a deep understanding of your audience. Answer the following questions about your target audience to start visualizing who they are and what they need for marketing content to resonate with them:
- What are their values?
- What are their hopes for the future?
- What trends are they interested in?
- What brands do they engage with often?
- What kind of content do they engage with most?
- What platforms do they spend most of their time on?
- What challenges and issues are they currently facing?
- What’s your target audience’s demographic information?
- How have your target audience’s needs evolved?
Add any more questions you can think of that will help you define what your target audience desires regarding marketing and creating a genuine relationship with a brand.
Lean into user analytics
If you’ve already got a few campaigns under your belt, hopefully, you’re using analytics tools to track their performance. In particular, user behavior analytics can give insight into how your target audience engages with your marketing materials.
Each campaign you launch should be attached to specific metrics that tell you whether something is working or isn’t.
For example, you could measure how many impressions a social media post gets to determine how many people have seen the post. Then, you can follow that up with how many clicks and comments the post gets to further determine its effectiveness.
Monitor what your target audience is doing with every piece of marketing content so that you can create your campaigns around who they are and how they behave.
Leverage social listening tools
Social media is a secret weapon when it comes to learning what your target audience wants marketing-wise.
People openly discuss their experiences with brands, purchases they’ve made, how they love a piece of content, what they hate about particular visuals, and so forth.
Social listening tools are specifically designed to help you keep track of what people say about your brand and anything related to it. You can absolutely look into getting a tool like this.
Or, you can designate an hour or two a day to browse social media, noting what your target audience is saying and using that information to better your marketing materials.
Converse and connect with the individuals in your target audience
All of these analytics and tools are great, but hearing what your target audience wants and needs regarding marketing straight from their mouths is even better.
Find ways to get feedback directly from your target audience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Send out surveys and polls;
- Put together a focus group;
- Do a live stream and give a preview of upcoming content, monitoring the chat;
- Send out emails and ask for feedback on specific content;
- Pick individuals to test marketing content before you put it out.
Study old campaigns with a similar target audienceo
As out-of-the-box as this may seem, studying old campaigns with a similar target audience can help you refine your marketing content to better fit the target audience you’re currently creating for.
Go back and look at what that target audience loved about the campaigns you created. Of course, the target audience for whom you’re currently creating may have slightly different needs and desires from previous audiences.
However, revisiting an old campaign is still an excellent way to get you off on the right foot.
Creativity and personality matter
Any target audience is full of human beings. They aren’t robots. They have hearts, minds, feelings, and emotions triggered by what they see, hear, and experience.
So, that means you’ve got to give them marketing materials they can emotionally connect with. That’s where creativity and personality come in. People are more likely to genuinely connect with content that’s memorable, creative, and full of character.
Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Instead, create marketing materials that reflect the brand personality and are mindful of what will capture and keep your target audience’s attention.
Tell your audience’s story
One of the best ways to ensure your marketing materials are meaningful to the community they’re meant for is to tell their story. Good storytelling is essential to solicit a human connection and speak to a collective experience.
Lean into what you’ve learned so far about your target audience. Understand their life and how the products/services you’re marketing can elevate it. Then, put together visuals and messages that authentically tell that story.
Your marketing and designer pals can give you their opinion on how awesome your marketing materials look and feel. At the end of the day, your target audience may not feel that way.
So, experimentation is critical. Create a lot of unique content for your target audience. Design different versions of the same marketing content and distribute them to your audience to see which ones hit and which don’t.
A/B testing is your friend — and so is using the right content creation tools to keep churning out content without it being such an overwhelming task.
Reflect on the success of every campaign
There are marketers and designers out there that launch a campaign and move on to the next one without ever returning to the previous one to measure its success. It’s no surprise their marketing is struggling because of that.
Reflecting on the success of every campaign is a must if you want future campaigns to resonate with your audience more often than not.
Revisit your goals. Look at the key performance indicators and metrics you chose to measure success. Dive into what your target audience loved and what they didn’t engage with.
That way, the next campaign can be more of what they want and less of what they don’t.
Make target audience research an ongoing project
Simply put, target audiences evolve. Their needs, wants, interests, issues, and values change over time. What resonates with your target audience this week may not resonate with them a couple of months from now. So, studying your target audience must be an ongoing project.
When you learn new things about your audience, note them in your research file. Any campaign or marketing materials you create from that point on should account for the transformations your audience has recently gone through.
Turning your attention from the marketing and design world to your target audience’s needs and desires is the key to creating successful campaigns.
Doing so ensures your marketing campaigns will be more impactful and influential for the audience they’re meant for.
The tips above can lead you to create marketing materials that are meaningful to the audience that will see them.