Consumer Targeting: Four questions you need to ask

Consumer targeting…just more marketing jargon to try to confuse you right?  Unfortunately not.  If you want to market your brand or product effectively, you need to make sure you are talking to the right people.   Telling one and all about your brand with a scattergun approach can seem like an easier option, but it can impact negatively on your brand.  It’s expensive and it dilutes your brand message. Also, if you decide to try appeal to the masses, you end up with inconsistent messaging which is a killer for brand health in the long run.  If you haven’t already worked out your target audience, you need to do it as soon as possible.

Back in the day, the target market was generally a very crude analysis based on demographic data…aka statistical information gathered from census data regarding where the consumer lives, how much they earn, their ethnicity, gender and age.  Although this information is helpful to some degree, when it comes to alcohol, it’s no great leap to acknowledge that it is really the behavioural and social understanding of our consumers that will be more defining than their demographic.


We could (and should) ask as many questions of our market as possible to ensure we are targeting our consumers correctly.  Ideally, you’d buy or commission research to help get you to the right answer but in alcohol marketing our budgets are often on the skinny side and simply don’t stretch that far.  If you have to go it alone without juicy brand specific data, here are four key lines of questioning that will help you pinpoint your target audience.


There’s no point putting an advert in the Otago Daily Times if your Consumers (or potential consumers) are mostly in Wellington.  And there’s no point boosting your Facebook post about your upcoming event in Nelson to the entire planet when you only want the locals to come along.  To pinpoint where your consumers are, you need to think about where your current and potential sales hotspots are so that you can actively communicate in that region or city.  If budget allows you can target more than one region, but your brand message will always have more power if you can communicate well to a smaller number of engaged people rather than shouting into the wind to a large, random audience. So be tough on yourself and think about the place you where you want to market and sell your product FIRST. 


To create a target audience, you need to think about what people get up to when they are not drinking (which, from a health perspective, you’d hope that non-drinking time takes up a fair whack of their day.) Once you know what else they do when they are not drinking, you can work out the best way to attract their attention during those times. 



This is a biggy for the drinks industry.  Ultimately you are trying to segment your audience further by thinking about their behaviours, feelings and personal values.  It’s not just about what they drink but why they drink.  Do they like a good party or do they enjoy a discerning tipple?   Do they drink in small, intimate groups at home, or go out to bars with friends.  When you are marketing alcohol, you also need to think about how consumers feel and what motivates them when they are enjoying your product.  Are they celebrating, having a dinner party, relaxing at home at the end of a long day.  This sounds like marketing fluff, but it’s not.  Enjoying your favourite beverage is hugely emotive – we create memories, have fun, chill out and nurture friendships – the touchy feely stuff is super important when you’re defining your audience in the alcohol industry.  

Take your time on this one – it’s important and can be challenging.  However, once you understand their social attitudes and influences, it helps you to further define where to find them and of deeper importance, it helps you determine what sort of language and imagery to use when you are communicating with them.



This is all about how they drink and is broadly based on your answers to Question 3.  Do they buy in the off or on trade?  By the glass, by the bottle, by the case or carton? Are they spendthrift or frugal? What about the other brands they are drinking? If a consumer is a loyalist, they generally have a small repertoire of brands that they frequently drink and once you’re in, you’re there to stay.  On the other hand, there are consumers who love to discover new products, they have a big repertoire so it’s easier to ‘be discovered’ by them…but they love to explore so holding their attention for a long time can be difficult. Your method of communication very much depends on which type of consumption behaviour your brand aligns with.

Creating a clear target is a bit of an art so if you’re needing some help you know where to find me.

Kara Biggs

021 874 519.



Kara BiggsComment