marketing design and audience

Marketing Design: Focus on Your Audience First

I recently took my kids to Despicable Me 3. If you are not familiar with this animated movie series, it’s probably because you don’t have kids between the ages of 5 and 12 (and you probably don’t have the lyrics to “Let It Go” drilled into your brain, either). Although this was not my favorite of the three movies, it struck me how brilliant the writers were in creating a story line that would appeal to both kids and their 30-to-40-something parents — the people most likely taking them to the movies. And to make the film more enjoyable for the parents, who grew up in the 80s’, they filled it with music, pop cultural references and humorous treats.

The filmmaker’s drive to appeal to their core audiences illustrate an important principle of every marketing design: we must remember that we are designing for a specific audience.  Which begs the question, who is your audience?

There is nothing more important for laying the foundation to a successful marketing design than first identifying your target audience.

Why is designing for an audience important in marketing design?

By knowing your audience, you will be much more likely to identify how you can visually and emotionally connect with them.

Every piece of visual communication has three objectives:

  1. The piece must touch an audience in a way that makes them pay attention.
  2. The piece must clearly communicate why the audience should care.
  3. And finally, the piece should encourage action.

If your marketing design does not resonate with its audience in the first place, these three objectives will not be achieved.

Two tips to help you design for your audience

Although formal research is helpful, I like to get a combination of demographic and psychographic information.

  • Demographic information: Statistical facts such as age, gender, geographic location, ethnic background, occupation, marital status and income.
  • Psychographic information: Characteristics such as personality traits, opinions, interests, hobbies, values, lifestyle, and more.

Demographic information is easy to find because it depends on hard numbers. But it is limited to the data your company has about its customers. While it can be tricky to get all the data you need, it’s imperative to know all you can. This information can be as complicated as a deep brand study, or as simple as demographic data from Google Analytics. No matter how detailed or limited, it all helps.

Psychographic information shows what the audience cares about. What are their favorite activities? What are their political opinions? What are their hobbies? What kind of car do they want to drive? What are they afraid of? What are they passionate about? Use your resources wisely and gain as much information as you can. By discovering what makes an audience motivated, you can make thoughtful marketing design decisions in regards to color, composition, typography, art and imagery.

In this day and age, technology provides countless tools to assess audience behavior, analyze data and measure results. But you can have all the measurement tools in the world, and they will do nothing if you can’t create a marketing design that resonates with a specific audience.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But do you know who the beholder is?