OOH advertising campaigns: understanding your target market

OOH advertising campaigns are a powerful way for your brand to dominate in your sector. But to do this effectively you need to understand your target market; this will help you develop the right outdoor strategy for your company.

image showing crowds at the london underground

Get to know your niche

All effective brands have a deep understanding of their “niche”, the gap in the market to which they cater. Interestingly, it’s actually possible for brands to go a long way without properly understanding exactly what their niche is, and how to operate effectively within it. But that can lead to trouble down the road, and will almost certainly mean that brands miss out on opportunities that they don’t realise even exist.

Let’s say that you run a bricks and mortar store, but what you don’t realise is that there is a whole audience of people on the internet who are unlikely to visit you on the high street but would buy from you online. Or alternatively, maybe you offer online services, but potential clients would love to be able to visit a showroom to see your goods in action.

Maybe your fair trade coffee shop doesn’t attract average passersby near your location, but there is a large audience of ethical coffee lovers in your town who would make a beeline to your outlet if only they knew you offered the sustainable coffee products they craved. In each of these examples, there is a potential audience that isn’t being tapped. You can discover this kind of demand by developing a deeper understanding of your target audience.

Understanding your USP

USP, or unique selling point, is an oft-mentioned word in business parlance. It generally refers to the main reason or reasons people will go to your brand rather than another in your sector.

Apple and Microsoft both sell computers, but they have different USPs. Apple’s is to provide slickly designed, user-friendly, works-out-of-the-box computers and devices that consumers are willing to pay a premium for. Microsoft are much more utilitarian. They are about getting the job done, whether it‘s via their business-orientated Office suite of software, their adaptable and affordable hardware, or their ability to customise products.

Their different USPs mean that each company has a different target audience. There’s a reason most workplaces are stocked with PCs and most creative freelancers tend to use Macs. Of course, there’s a degree of stereotype to these characterisations, and there’s plenty of crossover, but broadly speaking it’s clear that Apple and Microsoft market their products differently and that each brand has their own specific target audience.

Let’s say we wanted to help Apple and Microsoft use outdoor advertising to reach out to their audiences. Because we know their USPs, and the different audiences they cater to, we can help tailor OOH advertising campaigns effectively…

OOH advertising, location and knowing your target audience

Depending on your target audience, the locations where you run out-of-home ads is likely to vary. Apple might want to select areas where there are lots of affluent and entrepreneurial types, such as near a well known tech hub or hot-desking office suite. Microsoft might want to target large office complexes to tap into the business side of their audience, or advertise in shopping malls to target budget shoppers.

Alternatively, they might want to target the gaming community, who look to the processing power that Window’s PCs bring to the table above and beyond the aesthetic appeal of Macs. They could target university areas, shopping malls with lots of youth turnout, and so on.

Do your research

You can’t fully understand your target audience without doing some research. If you have lots of followers on social media, consider running polls trying to get a feel for why people use your products, or even what they’d like to see from your brand in the future. This can help guide you when designing OOH advertising campaigns.

Alternatively, you can visit forums that cater to your niche and get a sense of the conversations going on there, and who is having them. The internet is full of people discussing their consumer needs in depth, and you can get a sense of what different people are looking for. Ditto, Facebook; there are countless user groups teeming with your potential target audience. Put yourself in your potential customers shoes and seek out communities related to your sector. A picture will soon emerge of what needs are being met, and what aren’t.

There are of course lots of offline ways to glean your target audience as well, such as attending events in your local community, or speaking to customers you are already in touch with to get a better idea of their needs.

How does your research inform your campaign?

Once you have an idea of who your target audience are, think about how this can inform your OOH advertising. Think about the creative side first; what message will resonate with your audience? Then think about where that audience can be found, geographically. Also, think about how your audience travel when out-of-home and what ad formats you can use to connect with them. Are they likely to be frequenting bus stops (bus stop ads), taking the tube (underground ads) or hopping into a taxi (roadside billboards). Are they drivers who you could target with digital petrol station forecourt screens? Are they older, affluent gentlemen partaking in a spot of golf? Golf club ads are a great way to reach an audience that is often neglected.

No more shooting in the dark

It’s a big, wide world out there. There are so many options as to where you could run outdoor ads, and how you fine tune your campaign; understanding your target audience gives you a framework to design ads that will have real impact.

By applying the tips detailed here you will go a long way to better understanding your target market, and this will help you understand how to make your OOH advertising campaign stand out from the crowd and convey real value.

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