It's tempting to base your television ad buying on your own viewing habits, but this is a mistake that can cost you greatly in wasted money and missed sales opportunities. This is because the people most likely to buy your products or services may not enjoy the same programming that you do. Even if you think their interests are like yours, you should do market research - both to confirm this and to be sure that there isn't an even bigger market segment watching other things.
How Should You Decide Where to Put Your Advertising Money?
Advertising money should only be spent where actual research shows that it is likely to provide a sufficient positive return for your business. There are several types of audience research, including primary and qualitative research, interviews, and focus groups.
In primary research, it is very important to avoid preconceived notions about your audience. Instead, gather all-new information to build the framework for a good general picture of the people in question. It is even recommended to avoid using the work of prior researchers, possibly because the group's preferences might have changed in the interim.
Qualitative research focuses on the feelings of a member of the target group. In this type, you are trying to "get into the head" of your desired customers.
There are two primary ways of doing qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. Interviews can be one-on-one and follow the standard format, or they can be informal and conducted as conversations, either individually or in group settings. Meanwhile focus groups are groups of people from your target demographic. They provide direct feedback to what you present to them. It is important to watch the facial expressions and body language of the group members as well as to listen to what they're saying (or writing).
Surveys are another way of gauging your audience. These aren't as directly interactive as live meetings, but this makes them easier for people to complete, so you may get more data and participation from them.
Once you have this information, you should define your target audience clearly. A defined target audience maps out each demographic as if it were a single person, with goals, needs, and everything else. Defining your target audience allows ads to be made that "speak to" the pain points, life stages, and other key characteristics of your targeted groups. It is now considered essential to a sales or lead generation strategy and helps to ensure that your TV ads are relevant to the people you want to attract.
Even if you think you are sure of your audience's preferences and needs, this research and target audience development is critical to determine how you should spend your ad dollars. Doing so ensures that you aren't missing people with slightly (or even greater) different interests than you or who are at a different stage in their lives than you are.
Spending money based on your personal preferences leads to wasted money. At best, you will only get a partial overlap with the preferences of those who could be turned into your customers. With proper research, you will optimize your campaigns and make them far more efficient. At the same time, you'll be sure to reach far more of the people who could end up buying your products or services.