Building A Complete Audience Targeting Plan In Minutes

Building A Complete Audience Targeting Plan In Minutes

All of your prospective customers are online right now, either sifting through their social feeds or email inboxes, texting friends on their favorite messaging app, reading news articles on their phones, watching videos or playing games.

They’re readily available to reach and engage with, so why aren’t all businesses successfully shoveling up those millions of online prospects and converting them into customers?

Too many choices.

Too many possible audiences to target (millions of people, potential customers, are online every day), too many online destinations to choose to targeting on (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Our company websites, Display ads or guest blogging on other sites, paid content published on news sites, forum participation, email marketing and more) and too many micro moments in a consumers life that we can choose to focus our messaging on (we can now reach them exactly when they wake up in the morning, when they eat lunch, when they’re tired, when they have a baby, get a new job, get married, finish school and more).

When we have too many choices we stop thinking clearly, we stop making rational choices and inevitably start making mistakes.

So let’s de-clutter the mind from all the options and use a tried and tested audience targeting framework:

Topics covered in this post:

    1. The ‘See-Think-Do’ Framework 
    2. How to build a complete audience targeting plan
      2.1 The Framework
      2.2 Part 1: The audience consideration stage
      2.3 Part 2: The 5 W’s of audience targeting
      2.4 Final example

The ‘See-Think-Do’ Framework

Almost 3 years ago Avinash Kaushik published his See-Think-Do Business Framework on his blog.

It’s a fairly simple framework that divides audience targeting into 3 audience consideration stages:

  • See 
    Largest qualified audience possible – anyone who might need your product at some point.
  • Think
    Subset of ‘see’, an audience with a broad interest in your offering, but not ready to purchase yet.
  • Do
    Subset of ‘think’, people who have plenty of intent to purchase your type of offering right now.

[*Avinash also included a forth stage, which he referred to as ‘Coddle’ or ‘Care’, that talks about audiences who have already purchased from you. In my opinion they don’t require a completely new stage really.

After purchasing from you these existing or past customers either go back to the ‘think’ stage, not yet ready to make another purchase or remain in the ‘do’ stage, ready to purchase again.

The only difference between them and those who have never purchased before is that they should be much easier to convert (provided they had a good experience purchasing from you before).]

Avinash’s framework offers 2 incredibly important marketing revelations:

  1. Not all of your potential customers are ready to buy what you’re selling right now but if you won’t engage with them now or worse – hit them with too many ‘hard sell’ ads, they might never buy from you, causing you too miss out on a huge percentage of your market potential.
  2. Most marketers only focus their efforts on engaging the ‘Do’ stage audiences because the metrics with which we judge the success of our marketing activity, our key performance indicators, are almost always related to conversions. And while those metrics may be extremely fitting for analyzing results when targeting the ‘Do’ stage audiences, they are completely wrong for the other stages.

In his framework, Avinash suggests not only smart, relevant, metrics with which to judge the success of activities directed at the ‘See’ and ‘Think’ stage qualified audiences, but also adds his two cents on how and when you should use different marketing tactics in order to effectively engage the audience of every one of the consideration stages.

However, the See-Think-Do framework is a high level plan that aims to help management direct it’s marketing activities, and as such it doesn’t actually go into detail about how you actually do it.

It’s not enough to just layout who you want to target and where (2 things Avinash does discuss), there are 3 more Ws that need addressing.

Here is my addition to the framework that I think makes it a complete, comprehensive, go-to-market-ready plan that you can execute immediately:

How to build a complete audience targeting plan

The Framework

As you can see in the matrix below, the original ‘See-Think-Do-Care’ consideration stages make up the rows and the 5 Ws – Who, When, Where, Why and What, make up the columns.

The audience targeting framework

The 5 Ws are obviously not my invention, most of us learn about them in grade school. They don’t appear in Avinash’s framework but are essential in order to neatly map-out all the aspects we need to consider when deciding exactly how to market to each of the consideration stages.

They allow you to break down your marketing efforts into all of the different components – the persona you want to focus on (‘Who’), the micro-moment you want to address (‘When’), the channel(s) you’ll use (Where), the reason you chose to target this audience, at this specific time through this channel (‘Why) and what you plan to share with this audience in order to engage them (‘What’)

So let’s see if we understand the 2 parts of the audience targeting plan:

Part 1: The audience consideration stage

The first thing we need to do is to create a high-level framework that includes only Avinash’s consideration stages (no W’s).

Simply define for yourself exactly who your audience is in the ‘See’, ‘Think’, ‘Do’ and ‘Care’ stages based on this definition of the stages:

  • See 
    Largest qualified audience possible – anyone who might need your product at some point.
  • Think
    Subset of ‘see’, an audience with a broad interest in your offering, but not ready to purchase yet.
  • Do
    Subset of ‘think’, people who have plenty of intent to purchase your type of offering right now.


Part 2: The 5 W’s of audience targeting

After you’ve completed part one, time to move to the tactical level and add some Ws to the mix.

While the audience consideration stages, quite obviously, are all about your audience and their level of intent and readiness to purchase, the Ws are about you – what you plan to do.

As mentioned, The Ws (Who, When, Where, Why and What) will help you clearly specify for yourself who you plan to target, when and where you plan to do so, why you chose these ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ and what you plan on distributing in order to engage your audience in each consideration stage.

While you should only have 1 high level ‘See-Think-Do’ framework, you should create a few variations of the Ws in order to reach different audiences within the same consideration stage.

For instance, if you run a clothing company. Audience targeting in the ‘Think’ stage would include stay-at-home moms or dads, career women and men, those interested in specific brands or those who only like black clothes. All are different individual types but they all wear clothes however don’t need to buy right now so they all belong in the ‘Think’ stage.

To reach these different ‘Who’s you’ll need to specify the right ‘When’, ‘Where’ and ‘What’ for each of them.

One you’ve made a few variations of the W’s per consideration stage you’re ready to go.

Lastly, don’t forget to use Avinash’s suggested success metric to optimize your audience targeting for each consideration stage:

Avinash Kaushik

Final Example:

Let’s say you own a sports clothing company, this is how one of your audience targeting Ws plan variations should look like:

audience targeting framework example


Time to make your own plan, something that you can clearly implement tomorrow.

Let me know how it goes!

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