- August 19, 2022
Table of Contents
When the Van Doren brothers established their small shoe-making storefront in 1966, little did they know their shoes will attain a cult status and become a cultural icon in the state of California.
Here’s the story of how they became one of the largest shoe brands on the planet and what marketers can learn from them.
It all started when the Van brothers decided to set up a shop in Anaheim, California that manufactured customized footwear for mass audiences, made-to-order within a day.
As promising as that proposition was, in the first few years, the Vans continued selling custom-made shoes but did not gain much foothold in the market. That’s when some skateboarders came along looking for durable shoes that could handle all the battering as they launched off pool lips and did tricks on their wooden boards.
In skateboarding, Vans recognized something before anyone else did: an under-served niche and began catering to their needs and desires. They even coined their tagline “Off the Wall” as an ode to their first core audience.
This pathbreaking decision sowed the seeds of its enduring association with youth, adventure, and self-expression and blossomed into commercial and branding success.
From its humble beginnings, Vans has now grown into a global trend setter, making cultural connections with myriad cohorts across 90 countries and generating over $4 billion in annual sales.
If there’s one thing that we can learn from the history of Vans is that success has less to do with luck and more to do with grit, tenacity, empathy and listening. In the end, the best teachers in the art of marketing are the customers themselves. Paying attention to the target audience using your products and listening closely to their unmet needs could prove to be the game-changing move for your business.
So without any further ado, let’s look at some of the ways on how to understand your target audience in order to forge an authentic connection with them.
Target audience is a group of consumers characterized by specific demographics or behavioural attributes that represent a business’s ideal customer or buyer persona. Defining the target audience is a vital step in formulating a marketing strategy.
This is why famous consultant Peter F. Drucker once said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
Here are some tips that will help you understand and learn more about your target audience:
A good starting point to understand your audience and what they want is to analyze your current customer base. Who are your current customers and why do they buy from you? Start with the most valuable segments: those who have a high lifetime value, buy frequently, or spend a significant amount when they do business with you. Look for common characteristics and interests of these customers. This will make it easier for you to identify look-alike target audiences who display similar traits and behavioural patterns.
Conceptualize your target audience by creating an outline of your ideal customer. In most cases, this takes the form of a fictional character, whom you can shape with demographics such as age, gender, career, education, income, etc. Go a step further than demographics to psychographics and behavioral parameters to understand their lifestyle, values, needs and interests.
Tap into digital analytics marketing technology solutions to examine and dissect user behavior on your website and other channels. This will give you actionable insights into how your target audience is interacting with your brand. As a result, you can fine-tune and optimize your marketing approaches to suit specific customer behavioral target segments. You can use tools like Google analytics, social media insights tools, behavioral tools such as heatmaps and more to gather valuable customer information.
Another way to get to know your audience at a deeper level is through surveys. With surveys you can access feedback directly from your audience to assess what’s working and what’s not. Include all formats of questions such as multiple choice, likert scale and open-ended questions that will allow you to identify and define the needs of your target audience. Incentivize and reward your audiences for participating in the surveys to make sure respondents answer in an accurate, unbiased way.
Source – SurveyGizmo
Social listening is the process of monitoring conversations online in order to better understand what customers and prospects are talking about your business in general.
Social listening is different from social monitoring, in that it focuses on the holistic picture of the brand and the industry in the social space. This will help you uncover rapid and candid feedback from users to enhance and position your offerings in alignment with customers’ needs.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to experiment with new approaches to better understand your audience. Testing out new ideas among audience members is a great way to determine whether your offerings are evolving with your customers’ changing needs. This will lead you to find a sweet spot that resonates with your audience. Or maybe, you learn something simply doesn’t work for your audience, and now you can avoid investing in similar changes in the future.
Getting to know your audience isn’t always a simple process, but it’s a necessary one. The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your offerings to fit their needs.
Besides, it will also help you convert these audience members into long-term customers who will become loyal advocates of your brand. So, start working through these steps to get to know your audience better and begin reaching the people who matter the most to your success and impact your bottom line.
Ultimately, cementing a strong and authentic bond with your target audience is the key to ‘off the wall’ marketing transformation and success.