4 steps to finding a true human insight about your audience

Data is important. It can tell you a lot about your target audience, like demographics (18- to 24-year-old urbanites), habits (Gen Z uses social media an average of X times a day), and trends (mobile payments have risen X%).

However, there’s a side of your audience that data alone can’t tap into: what exactly makes human beings, well, human. People in your target audience have desires, wants, needs, fears, emotions, and ideas that can’t be measured with numbers and stats.

By exploring this side of your audience, you can discover a human insight, or a fundamental truth that’s motivating people’s behavior. This insight can help you create and market products and services that fulfill your audience’s needs and desires, and fit into their lives.

Here are four steps you can take to find a genuine human insight and shape your audience strategy.

Step 1: Create an audience sample

Even the narrowest target audience can include different types of people, with each group having its own desires, needs, and emotions. And there’s simply no such thing as a one-size-fits-all human insight.

The first thing you should do is divide your audience into segments and choose one to focus on. For example, a laundry detergent brand could segment its customers into parents, college students, and single city-dwellers, and decide to focus on the parent segment first.

Find a selection of people who represent your segment, called a sample audience. This should include at least 15 people who cover a broad spectrum of your customer segment. The detergent brand might include parents of babies, pre-teens, and teenagers.

Add some “wild cards” in there, too (like a parent whose 30-year-old son has moved back home or a parent with 10 children). They might reveal new ways to use your product or tell you why they won’t use it. – Read more

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