4.9 Strategy Component Target Groups

The section on the target groups strategy component is divided into the areas of

  • Basics: here you will learn the basics of the strategy component and the definition of the content.
  • Application: here you will learn the definition by means of an exemplary procedure (method).

The learning objective of the topic is to

  • Provide target audiences as part of social media strategy.
  • be able to define the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

Reading time: approx. 15 minutes

Exercises: Exercises are in the PDF of all exercises of this course. Download it from here.

Basics

Classification of target groups as dimension

  • Target groups are variables that we use in marketing to address specific parts of a market in a communicative way. As a rule, target groups are formed on the basis of sociodemographic characteristics.
  • In the business model, we use customer segments to target specific parts of a market. We form customer segments on the basis of demand, need and the services geared to them.
  • In the potential-based strategy model pbsm, we use themes as a central element for developing strategies such as for addressing and working markets in social media.

We need to understand the connections and relationships between these variables in order to develop strategies for social media that can support the business model and work with marketing.

Business model and social media: If our themes are not based on customer segments, our strategy does not support customer segments. Since we have defined our topics from the business model and also from its customer segments, this problem should be solved.

Marketing and social media: What connects target groups with topics are the interests of the target group. If we use topics that do not correspond to the interests of target groups, we will not reach these target groups with our strategy in social media. The strategy component target groups forms a corrective and a bridge that can connect our social media strategy with marketing. We can use the strategy component to check how far our topics cover the target groups of marketing.

Heterogeneity through target groups as a strategic problem

The strategy component target groups can become decidedly extensive if the company wants to address a large number of very different target groups in social media.

A variety of target groups may result in additional strategic decisions / necessities if the strategy is driven by a variety of different target groups

  • becomes too comprehensive and complex.
  • the contents of the strategy are no longer compatible due to the diversity.

One consequence of such a situation would be

  • the division into several strategies.
  • Focusing on the most relevant / compatible target groups.

Definition of the strategy component target groups

The strategy component target groups in pbsm creates a link between marketing and social media via the connection of topics and target groups

  • Social media usage (channels, topics)
  • Social media affinity
  • Interests (pronounced in the form of topics, social media impact, usage formats, participation).
  • Needs (pronounced in the form of topics, social media impact, usage formats, participation).
  • Motivations (pronounced in the form of topics, social media impact, usage formats, participation).

Significance of the strategy component target groups

strategic importance

For our social media strategy, target groups are a link to other ways the company markets itself. They thus link the social media strategy and its activities with the activities of marketing, for example.

In the target groups strategy component, we “translate” the topics we use in social media to the target groups we use in other functions. Of course, this can also be used in both directions. This means that target groups are addressed via their topics in social media.

Target groups are as a strategy component can also serve as a kind of measuring stick. For example, we use the topics that are of great importance to target groups and the topics that we use in our social media strategy to identify the extent to which our social media strategy actually addresses the same target groups as marketing.

practical significance of the strategy component

The practical value of the strategy component is the clear definition of the target audiences for which our social media strategy is intended. This makes it easier to connect with marketing and for social media and marketing to work together on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, the strategy component is useful as a reference for the specific characteristics of the target groups in day-to-day work.

Requirements for the content of the strategy component Target groups

The strategy component target groups should describe at least the following contents

  • Target group description classic (sociodemographic)
  • Target group allocation Business model (customer segments and markets)
  • Target group description Interests, potential user benefits and motivations (in the form of the respective topics)
  • Social media affinity of the target groups according to
    • usage formats and
    • Social media channels and –
    • Communication formats.
  • Goals for reaching target audiences via social media.
  • Targets for the impact to be achieved within the target groups.
  • Competitors in our target groups (most important attention and performance betting competitors)

Interactions of the strategy component target groups

the target groups strategy component inevitably has extensive interactions with the other strategy components, as it defines who is to be reached with the social media strategy.

Interactions between target groups and company benefits

The corporate benefit that we achieve from the individual target groups is not a defining, primary element for the strategy definition. The relationship between company benefits and target groups is of informational importance. We define the company benefit as a quantity and focus on the elements that are decisive for the achievement of this benefit, i.e. the implementation within the framework of the strategy. We can define what business benefits we want to achieve in individual target groups, but the lack of precise targeting in social media means that the context for strategic design is rather loose.

Target Groups – UserBenefits

The user benefits should correspond to the interests of the target groups we want to reach with social media. If user benefits and target group interests do not match, we will not reach the intended target groups in social media. The defining strategy component in this relationship is the target groups.

Interactions between target groups and usage formats

The use of certain usage formats depends predominantly on their suitability for the topics for which they are used. The interests of the target groups – via preferences for topics – help define the usage formats to a very low degree. The suitability of usage formats for the processing and development of target groups also depends more on the respective topics than directly on the target groups.

Interactions target groups – outreach

The reach we want to build and keep active on social media relates to the target groups we want to reach on social media. Reaches outside our target groups are far less relevant for our company. The defining strategy component in this relationship is the target groups.

Interactions target groups – contents and topics

The content and topics as well as the user benefits must correspond to the interests and needs of our target groups. The defining strategy component in this relationship is therefore the strategy component target groups.

Interactions target groups – competition

We are in a general competition in social media for the attention of our target groups and markets. Our goal is to secure and improve our position in this competition. The strategy component target groups describes the field in which the competition is held. So it has a defining function for competition in the sense of “where the competition is.”

Interactions target groups – motivation

We ensure impact through motivation. In order for this effect to occur and motivation to work, it must meet the needs of our users – more precisely, the users we want to reach – in other words, our target groups. Motivation is therefore defined by the interests and needs of our target groups.

Interactions between target groups and participation

Participation serves clear goals – such as content sharing, content creation, or user support. To ensure that this participation has an impact in relevant markets and target groups, we gear the design of participation offerings to the wishes and needs of our users – in other words, our target groups. The strategy component target groups thus provides orientation, impetus and framework for participation.

Interactions target groups – communication

Target groups can have different communication preferences, both in terms of the formats of communication and the style of communication. That’s why we gear our communication to our target groups in terms of form, style and, of course, content.

Interactions target groups – channels

The social media usage preferences of our target groups – in particular the social media channels they prefer to use and how they use them – have a direct impact on the choice of our social media channels.

Interactions target groups – resources

Engaging our target audiences through social media can not only require resources but also tap into resources through audience participation.

Interactions target groups – goals

The tasks for the target groups strategy component result in a wide range of objectives for the target groups strategy component itself, but also have an impact on the objectives of other strategy components (such as channels, content, etc.).

Goals for the target groups strategy component

The objectives for the target groups strategy component should at least cover the above content:

  • Goals for reaching target audiences via social media.
  • Targets for the impact to be achieved within the target groups.
Resource requirements for the strategy component

The resource requirements for implementing the objectives of this strategy component fall predominantly within the other strategy components –

  • User benefit
  • Motivation.
  • Participation.
  • Contents and topics.

particularly.

Usage

The strategy component target groups gathers all information about the target groups and here in particular the topics that are important for the target groups and the topics of our social media strategy.

This means that we have all the information relating to our target groups at a glance for our day-to-day work and can check the content of our day-to-day work for compatibility with the requirements from the target groups strategy component and thus also for their contribution to the strategy / for strategy compatibility.

At the same time, by summarizing all the contents of the strategy for the individual target groups, the strategy component Target Groups provides the opportunity to identify compatibility, relevance and plausibility of the strategy and its measures for the individual target groups. In other words, if we summarize all the contents and measures of the strategy for the target groups as well as the requirements from the target groups at one point, we can most easily see whether this strategy meets the demands and requirements of the target groups in terms of content.

Requirements for the content of the strategy component Target groups

The strategy component target groups should describe the following contents

  • Definition: we describe the target groups of our social media strategy according to
    • Sociodemographics (templates Target Groups:Sociodemographics, Target Groups:Personas)
    • relevant interests and needs (template target groups:interests)
    • Motivations (Template Audience:Motivations)
    • Social Media Channels (Template Audience:Social Media Channels)
    • Communication and Information Preferences (Template Target Groups:Co-/Infopreferences)
  • Target group coverage: we describe the target group coverage we achieve in social media with a strategy based on the topics of the strategy.
  • UserBenefits for our target groups (Template Target Groups:UserBenefits)
  • Competitive impact and position: we describe our desired competitive position in our target groups that we want to reach through social media (template target groups:competitive impact)(target).
  • Social media measures for the target groups: we summarize all structural measures (structures, topics and content, motivation, participation, etc.) that have an impact on the target groups (template target groups:measures)(objectives).
  • Risks: we note identifiable risks from the contents of the strategy component as well as our solutions to these risks.

Definition of the contents of the strategy components

Definition of the target groups

  • Sociodemographic data about our target groups should already be available in the company (source: Marketing). We incorporate this data into the strategy component and check it for completeness and applicability (suitability of selection criteria in social media as metrics)(process). Here, the use of personas is also recommended in order to clarify the characteristics and attributes of the target groups.
  • Interests and needs should be known in marketing / market research. We incorporate relevant content into the strategy component (process).
  • Target group allocation: We allocate the target groups to the markets (and their topics) and the customer segments of our business model (process). Here, both marketing and the functional area of the company responsible for the business model (management, market area management, etc.) are source.
  • Motivations: We should know suitable motivation methods and topics / approaches from market knowledge of the target group and market research (studies).

Target group coverage in social media

  • We reach our target groups through their interest, which we address through the topics (of interest).
  • The target group coverage (qualitative) of a social media strategy corresponds to the coverage of the interests of our target groups via the topics of the strategy.
  • The quantitative target group coverage from a social media strategy is defined by the quantitative importance of the interests (for the target groups) of the social media affinity of the topics of interests. We could try to measure the quantitative target group coverage by the share of communication on these topics. The result should be taken with caution, because we can hardly calculate the passive users (who do not participate in the communication), so the audience is only recorded to a very limited extent. Therefore, I prefer to evaluate the target group coverage qualitatively and via the possible competitive position.

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UserBenefits in Social Media

The user benefit is a central success factor of the social media strategy. The relevance of the user benefit for the target groups is of corresponding importance. If our UserBenefit is not very attractive for the target groups of our company, this UserBenefit can still be successful in social media – but not by reaching the desired target groups. Relevance and the importance of user benefits for the target groups must therefore be ensured if we want to reach defined target groups with a social media strategy.

Sources of UserBenefit: The basis of UserBenefit are the interests and needs of the target groups and the UserBenefits of the competition. The definition of a convincing and competitive user benefit should – where possible – also be based on the company benefit.

The UserBenefit itself is defined in the strategy component UserBenefit. From the strategy component target group we obtain the selected user benefit for our strategy. In the strategy component UserBenefit, we define the practical implementation of UserBenefit within the framework of our social media strategy.

  • The strategy component target groups reflects the strategy from the perspective of the target groups.
  • The UserBenefit strategy component lists the actions that create this success-critical component of the strategy.

The strategy component Target Groups results in corresponding requirements for the strategy component UserBenefits:

  • The user benefits must be compatible with the interests and topics of the target groups.

Motivation of target groups in social media

The motivation we use in social media for the respective target groups is primarily based on the topics and interests of the target groups and is optimally oriented to user benefits.

In other words, we define the motivation method and structure from the topics we use to address our target groups in social media. This ensures compatibility of topics and motivation. This requires that the topics we use in social media largely correspond to the interests of the target groups we want to reach in social media. It is advantageous when user benefits and motivation support each other. Not only does this promote the usefulness of the offer, it is also likely that this positive interaction also supports the reach (build-up and activity), especially if we motivate referrals.

For the practical definition of motivation, corresponding requirements result from the target groups

  • The motivation should be compatible with the topics and interests of the target groups.
  • Motivation should support referral within target groups.

Competitive effect and position

The competitive position in social media desired by the individual target groups – e.g. as a source of content, as a provider of services, as a brand, as a partner (cooperation / participation) is noted here.

Social media measures for the target groups

In the strategy component, we summarize the most important measures and structures aimed at the target groups of our social media strategy via their topics.

In particular, we describe the measures for the target groups with which we

  • Target group coverage (reach),
  • User benefit
  • CorporateBenefits
  • Competitive effect / position

want to achieve.

The comparison of structured goals (market, company benefits, competition) and the measures that realize these goals makes the quality of the measures in relation to the goals clear.

Sources for this are in particular the strategy components content and topics, usage formats, motivation, participation and channels.

Interactions with other strategy components

When deriving the content of strategy components, we consider the interactions between the individual strategy components. This is necessary for a coherent, content-compatible social media strategy. For the target groups, the interaction with topics / subject areas and user benefits is of particular importance. If both do not match the preferences of the target groups, the success of the strategy (in these target groups) is at risk.

Based on the contents of the strategy component, please check which interactions exist in the specific case with the contents of other strategy components. Do not rely only on a test based on the general interactions, because this does not cover every possible individual case.

Assumptions

We list the assumptions on which the measures and targets in the strategy inventory are based. The less certain our knowledge of the target groups and their preferences and interests, the higher the proportion of assumptions on which we build. So, for example, if we suspect that a particular target group has a particularly strong interest in a particular topic or subject area, but we cannot substantiate this on the basis of facts, we should mark this assumption as such and make a note of it here.

The more extensively our strategy is based on assumptions, the more risky it is. In such a case, it is recommended to verify the key assumptions or flag the content based on them as a risk. Strategies with a high proportion of risk do not necessarily have to fail, but the risk of failure does not always grow linearly.

Requirements

We list prerequisites on which measures and goals of the strategy inventory are built. Typical requirements of the strategy component target groups are, for example, an accurate definition of our target groups and their interests.

Risks

We note identifiable risks from the contents of the strategy component and possible solutions to reduce the risks. In the strategy component target groups, complexity and multiplicity of different target groups within the strategy are a possible source of risk, another source we have to consider is insufficient knowledge about the preferences and interests of our target groups. If we have to rely more on assumptions than on sound knowledge, a significant part of our strategy is based on more or less solid assumptions, with the risk that we can be completely wrong with essential parts of our strategy.

Sources
  • Value proposition needs in the business model
  • Target group analyses Market research
  • Personas marketing
Use of the results / findings
  • Building reach: we use the interests of the target groups to build relevant reach via these topics.
  • Activation of reach: we use the needs of the target groups to actively maintain reach via these topics.
  • Production News to use: we orient our content to the topics of the target groups
  • Production UserBenefits: we align the UserBenefit(s) with the interests and needs of the target audience(s).

Work templates – examples

The following are examples of how to design the work templates for this strategy component.

Working template Strategy component Target groups – interests and topics

Working template Strategy component Target groups – topics Overview

Work template Strategy component Target groups – UserBenefits

Working template Strategy component Target groups – Motivation

Working template Strategy component Target groups – competitive effect

Working template Strategy component Target groups – Measures

Exercises

The exercises for this strategy component are linked under “Materials” in the topic header.