5 Questions to Help You Identify Your Target Audience

March 2, 2022

By Stephanie Corso, Chief Executive Officer

Everyone could do with a little inspiration to “Just Do It” from time to time, but Nike’s target market isn’t your everyday Joe Schmoe or Jane Schmane in joggers. It’s athletes.

So, why does Nike narrow its audience so much and essentially exclude a large number of the population? Nike knows and understands the needs of their target users, and they message specifically to that core audience. It’s as simple as that.

The same goes for all of us in the water industry. Think about it. One of the most important aspects of the discovery process, which determines key metrics, is a strong understanding of your audience. Yes, everyone uses and consumes water. People’s daily lives around the world are influenced by their access to those basic needs. But is your audience really the entire globe? While we have the potential to reach an incredibly broad audience (that is, if we create compelling enough content), would that be effective? Or would it be like yelling into a vast cavern and hearing only our echo in reply?

I challenge you to “Think Different.” Ask yourself these questions: 


— Who is most closely aligned with your mission, vision, and values?

— Who needs you the most?

— Who has been overlooked?

— Who is struggling?

— Who can influence positive change?


Carve out some time, preferably with a group of folks who represent the community at large, and list out all your potential audiences. Then pose the questions above, or similar questions your organization has already been asking, and pare down that list. Don’t let the fear of leaving someone out hinder you. While the need for water is universal, this exercise will offer you a path to communicating more clearly and measuring more meaningfully. 

For example, AWWA Sections and WEF Member Associations, your primary audience is not the public. It’s not elected officials. It’s your members. They need you the most. Your members are struggling to build trust and buy-in with their communities through effective communication. They’re overlooked by everyone except you. You can empower them to create positive change, one community at a time. 

Start there. Excel there. Give it time, as it takes at least a year or two for any volunteer organization to find its groove. Give the ripples time to grow, and then observe where the gaps exist. Does more refinement need to happen internally? Is it time to shift outward? What gaps have been improved because of better communication at a community-level? What still needs work? Your members are the ones making ripples in their communities. Are you empowering them with the skills they need to communicate in today’s landscape? 

Just like Nike’s target audience doesn’t skip leg day, you can’t afford to skip the assessment step in the discovery process. Pinpoint your audience and really get to know them. “Because You’re Worth It” — and so are they. 


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