How to Conduct Target Audience Research to Grow Your Scaling Business

Author: Whitney Koch

So you’re ready to scale your business – now what do you do? (If you’re not so sure, we can help you know whether it’s time.)

Broadening your market and reaching new customers may seem like an easy growth path. While it is necessary for growth, it’s not as straightforward as you might think.  

In this blog, we’ll cover the process and outcome of business expansion by marketing to a new audience. Once you understand the importance of target audience research, you can leverage it to grow your market reach and your business.

Why Marketing to New Audiences is Crucial for Your Business

Reaching new audiences isn’t just a strategy for scaling your business: it’s essential for survival. Growing your target customer base is part of adapting to the ever-changing business landscape – it not only creates the potential for more sales but also fosters innovation and ultimately ensures long-term business success and stability. 

When you target new audiences, you open your business to opportunities for continued expansion and revenue growth. Additionally, having multiple audiences diversifies your revenue sources, helping reduce overall business risk.

Aside from growth and stability, new audiences have more to offer your business. If you tap into markets your competitors aren’t addressing effectively, or at all, you can establish your business as a leader in a new space. You’ll capture this new market share while enhancing your brand’s overall market presence. With increased brand visibility, your brand reputation can lead to loyalty and advocacy from your customers.

The Importance of Target Audience Research

Market research and industry trends can help you discover opportunities for scaling your business, but target audience research will help you determine who you’re trying to reach. Not everyone can or even wants to be your customer. When you’re clear on who does, you know how and where to reach them.

With in-depth target audience research, you can clearly define your target market. Information you need includes demographics (typically age, gender, and geographic location). If you’re trying to reach a new demographic, you’ll need to deeply understand their nuances–cultural, regional, and linguistic–to market to them successfully.

There are several methods and tools for conducting target audience research. Engaging a third party to conduct interviews, lead focus groups, or field surveys often yields unbiased results, giving you a clearer picture of your audience. 

If you can’t fully outsource your target audience research, here are some resources to help.


Build a survey for free or pay for SurveyMonkey’s market research solutions that allow you to send customized surveys to specific audience profiles.


Engage NielsenIQ to conduct consumer surveys or analyze your first-party data. You can also learn from their industry insights. 


With Semrush’s Market Explorer tools, you gain insight into your standing compared to your competitors, uncover traffic data to any website, track competitors’ activity trends, and even access audience data.

Competitive analysis capabilities like those offered by Semrush can reveal gaps or opportunities in the market you can capitalize on. Knowing who your competitors are targeting and how gives you growth options to consider: Do you want to scale by marketing your current products or services to a new market or by selling a new product or service to your existing market?

Why Detailed Customer Personas Matter

Once you have conducted target audience research, you can use the data to develop detailed customer personas. A customer persona is a comprehensive profile of your ideal customer in each of your markets. 

When creating this profile of your ideal customer, think about all the details that would help you effectively sell to them. This includes their demographics, as mentioned earlier, but should go deeper to include specific information, such as their income level, preferences, lifestyle, and pain points. Gathering as much information as you can makes your customer persona more complete. Knowing what motivates them and recognizing how your product or service can meet their needs gives you a business advantage you can use to reach them where they are with messaging that resonates. (Detailed personas can assist with localized marketing strategies so you deliver messaging that is geographically and culturally relevant.

If you have existing customers you can turn to, use data and insights from them to inform your customer personas. We also recommend using your website analytics platform as a data source; from your visitor statistics, you should be able to determine key information about their online habits, including their preferred browser and how they access your site (desktop or mobile device). 

When it comes time to develop your personas, you can build them out yourself in a word processing tool, get a bit more high-tech with HubSpot’s Make My Persona Tool, or get an assist from artificial intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT. However you build your customer personas, be sure to continuously refine them based on new data and customer interactions!

Why You Need a Customer Journey Map and How It Informs Your Marketing Strategy

Once you build out your customer personas, the next step is to use them to map buying processes. The customer journey includes the steps your prospects take when making buying decisions (the 5 typical stages are Awareness, Consideration, Action, Experience, and Advocacy), and a customer journey map is a visual representation of all the touchpoints they have with your business. (If you want to go deeper into the customer journey, check out this blog, Building A Buyer: How to Move Your Prospects Through the B2B Customer Journey.)

Your detailed customer personas will help you determine the channels you should be on, the tactics that effectively reach them, and the messaging that speaks to their pain points and needs. Armed with this information, you can map out what you will do at each stage to move them along the customer journey.

When entering new markets, the Awareness and Consideration stages are especially important. Because potential customers may not be familiar with your brand, more thought needs to be given to how you will introduce your product or service to a new audience. The lack of familiarity with your brand also means you need to focus more on educating your ideal customers about features, benefits and how your offering meets their needs. Doing so provides them with valuable information and builds the trust necessary to choose you in the Action stage.

Incorporating market analysis and customer journey data into your marketing strategy is paramount for small businesses aiming to scale effectively. By synthesizing these insights, you can tailor your approach to resonate more deeply with each segment of your target audience, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Understanding which channels your customers use and prefer at different stages of their journey is crucial. Whether it’s social media, email, search engines or other platforms, optimizing your channel strategy ensures that you’re meeting your audience where they’ll be most receptive. For instance, while prospects in the Awareness stage might be more active on social media platforms, those in the Consideration stage might rely more on search engines to research solutions. Maximize your reach and impact by aligning your marketing efforts accordingly.

Furthermore, customizing your content to address the specific concerns or interests of customers at different journey stages enhances relevance and fosters deeper connections. For example, in the Awareness stage, educational content highlighting industry challenges and solutions can help establish your brand as a trusted authority. As prospects progress to the Consideration stage, content that showcases your unique value proposition and addresses common pain points becomes more compelling. By delivering tailored messaging at each touchpoint, you nurture leads along the customer journey and build stronger relationships.

Additionally, leveraging market analysis and customer journey data enables you to allocate your marketing resources more efficiently. By identifying the most impactful touchpoints and channels that drive conversions, you can focus your efforts and investments where they’ll yield the greatest returns. Strategically optimizing every interaction moves potential customers closer to the Action stage (buying) and maximizes your budget.

By integrating market analysis and customer journey data into your marketing strategy, you empower your business to deliver personalized experiences, optimize channel effectiveness, and allocate resources wisely. This holistic approach not only enhances your competitive advantage but also drives sustainable growth as you scale your business.

Case Studies: Applying Target Audience Research to Your Marketing Strategy

Here are some examples of prominent businesses that successfully scaled by utilizing target audience research.

Starbucks: Expanding Beyond the Coffee Hub

Starbucks started as a hyperlocal business targeting coffee aficionados in Seattle. After establishing a strong presence there, Starbucks sought to expand into new markets. Recognizing the universal appeal of quality coffee and personalized service, they replicated their successful Seattle model in other cities.

Not every city Starbucks wanted to expand to had the same lifestyle or population of coffee snobs as Seattle, so Starbucks conducted market research to understand local preferences. Knowing the tastes of each region, leaders adapted the menu accordingly and strategically chose store locations for maximum visibility and convenience to build brand awareness and make it easier for potential customers to choose Starbucks over coffee competitors.

Under Armour: Breaking Into the Lifestyle Segment

Under Armour began as a high-performance sportswear brand targeting a niche audience: professional athletes. They diversified their products to include casual athletic wear to reach a wider audience.

The fashion preferences and trends for everyday people were outside of Under Armour’s wheelhouse. So they conducted market research to understand casual wear trends. With those insights into this new market, they were able to lean into lifestyle branding and expanded their distribution channels to include department stores and online retail to reach this wider audience.

Apple: Diversifying Beyond Technology Enthusiasts

Apple is a household name, outperforming PC sales and dominating the smartphone market. But it didn’t start with a broad marketing strategy. Initially, Apple’s customer base was tech enthusiasts who loved the company’s innovation.

When it came time to expand beyond this niche market, Apple set its sights on everyday consumers, whom they were able to successfully convert with their user-friendly devices.

How did Apple shift from being a company for techies to a company for all? They simplified their product designs, opened retail stores in high-traffic areas like shopping malls for greater accessibility, and invested in marketing that highlighted usability over technical specifications.


If you’re looking to scale and grow your business, conducting target audience research is a crucial step. A deep understanding of your target market and their buying behaviors allows you to tailor your marketing strategies and messaging in a way that leads to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Throughout this blog, we’ve highlighted the significance of market analysis, customer persona development, and customer journey mapping in informing your marketing strategy. These processes not only help you identify who your ideal customers are, but also guide you in reaching them through the right channels with the most relevant messaging.

Market analysis allows you to uncover growth opportunities and potential gaps in the market, while customer personas provide a detailed profile of your target audience, enabling you to create personalized experiences that meet its needs and preferences. Customer journey mapping, on the other hand, helps you understand the various touchpoints your customers encounter throughout their buying journey, allowing you to optimize each interaction for maximum impact.

By synthesizing these insights and data analytics, you can allocate your marketing resources more efficiently, focus on the most impactful touchpoints, and ultimately drive sustainable growth for your business.

As you embark on your scaling journey, it’s essential to remember that research and strategy go hand in hand. By partnering with you on a research and strategy project, we can help you unlock new opportunities, reach new audiences, and achieve your business goals.

Let’s work together to support your business growth with a research-backed strategy: