October 2019

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Several people using a laptop

When considering who is our target audience, our first consideration is usually demographics: Male or female? Living where? Household income? Age? Kids? Pets?

When we see ourselves in the answers to those questions, it can be tempting to think we are the target. Especially when it’s simple to add affinity to the mix — I’m a customer of our business! I love our product/store/service! But even if you can check every box on the list for your target audience’s profile, you are never, ever the target. Ever. And here’s why:

1. You know too much.
You work for your company.
That means you have insider knowledge. You know how it was made, what goes into it, what its strengths and weaknesses are. That’s a lot more than your customers know coming in.

2. You have seen this before.
Your expectations and criteria for judging are different. You’ve looked at all your competitors closely, and you know all the things to look for—all of them.

3. Your intent is different.
You have an agenda. You want to sell the product as much as use it, and that will color your view.

Don’t succumb to the temptation to think of yourself as your target audience. Get real users and potential users of your product to test, use, and report back to you.