How To Define the Target Audience for Your Webinar

Victoria Rudi

Brad is a product manager who lives in the suburbs. He’s married, has a Master’s degree, and recently bought a home. He’s in charge of a small SaaS team whose biggest challenge is to organize and prioritize product updates. Brad is a lifelong learner and enjoys reading product blogs. He’s also active on social media.

Although not complete, that's how a typical buyer persona profile looks. While a good starting point for identifying your target audience for your webinar marketing campaigns, this alone is not comprehensive enough.

This profile doesn't identify the needs and internal motivations that drive people to purchase services and products. It's time to throw out the superficial Buyer Persona in favor of a more well-rounded methodology.

What’s Wrong With Buyer Personas? 

What difference does it make if your buyer persona is married or lives in the suburbs? How does knowing your buyer persona has a Master’s degree help you tweak your webinar content for better results? 

According to Advance B2B, there are several reasons why the buyer persona methodology doesn’t work in the context of SaaS companies:

  • Buyer personas are based on demographics and psychographics, rather than contextual motives. In other words, you’re simply putting people into the same category based on superficial characteristics, instead of focusing on their common interests, needs, and challenges. 
  • As the Advance B2B article highlights, “B2B buyer personas typically assume that people with the same title (e.g., CEOs) are a homogenous mass, with the same motives and pain points — regardless of the context.”
  • Buyer personas involve buyers, not users, which are the main category a SaaS company should pursue.
  • Finally, Advance B2B asserts, “buyer personas are often pulled out of thin air as a result of an internal brainstorming session.”

That’s why using the buyer persona methodology to define your target audience will prevent you from gathering crucial insights, subsequently leading to a weaker webinar campaign. 

The Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations of Your Target Audience

What should you do, then? How can you define your target audience and make sure your webinar will have a bigger impact and better results

Instead of just listing (or guessing) the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your audience, you can go further and analyze people’s extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. “What are those?” you may ask. 

  • Extrinsic motivation defines the external drives and rewards that push someone to take action or change his or her current situation. 
  • Intrinsic motivation involves the internal rewards someone may be seeking, such as emotional connection or personal satisfaction. 

Knowing the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations of your target audience will help you identify people’s main challenges. Also, you'll know the outcome they’re seeking, and the feelings they want to experience. You can use this information to craft a killer webinar that not only provides the solutions people want, but also speaks your target audience’s language.

How to define your audience’s extrinsic and intrinsic motivations? Two frameworks exist that, when combined, offer extraordinary understanding of your target group. 

The Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) Theory 

In one of his articles, author Alan Klement summarized the JTBD theory with a quote from Kathy Sierra, an American game developer, who said, “Upgrade your user, not your product. Don’t build better cameras — build better photographers.” The entire JTBD theory is based on the idea that we want to improve ourselves and change our life-situation. 

In his book, When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy, Alan Klement notes, “A Job to be Done is the process a consumer goes through whenever she aims to transform her existing life-situation into a preferred one, but cannot because there are constraints that stop her.”

It’s all about understanding what pushes people to make a change. The JTBD framework is strongly tied to people’s motivations and progress. As Klement discusses, this methodology focuses on delivering emotional progress. For example, people don’t purchase a revenue platform just to collect monthly fees from their subscribers.

They do it because they want to reduce involuntary churn, optimize pricing, and handle their accounting easier. Your customers or users specifically purchase your software to change and improve a life-situation they experience. This life-situation is the contextual characteristic required to define your target audience for your upcoming webinar.

You can apply the JTBD framework to analyze the current circumstances of your prospects. You can also determine the job they want to get done, and identify the barriers that prevent them from achieving success. This information will in turn help you position and promote your webinar. 

Define Your Webinar Target Audience Using the JTBD Theory 

Effective webinars speak your audience’s language, revealing the steps or solutions they need to accomplish their “job-to-be-done.” For example, you can run a demo webinar showcasing your software. However, if you don’t mention the use cases of your product or the ways your audience can use it to achieve specific results, you’ll end up with poor engagement and a lack of interest.

Without identifying your target audience based on the job-to-be-done criteria, your webinar campaign will bring a low return on investment. You can’t build an entire webinar around your software; you have to identify and prioritize the outcomes your audience wants to accomplish, and how your software might support them. 

How can you do that? By finding answers to questions such as: 

  • Why do these people need your product/service? 
  • How would they like to change their current life-situation? 
  • What’s the outcome they want to achieve? 
  • What are the main barriers that keep these people from changing their life-situation? 
  • How does your product/service help people overcome their existing obstacles and achieve their desired outcome? 

You can ask these questions during live interviews or surveys. Engage both your leads via your marketing team and your existing customers via your Customer Success team. 

Collecting this information will help you better define a target audience for your service/product, as well as your webinar. 


The StoryBrand Framework 

The StoryBrand framework was originally created by Donald Miller, an American author and entrepreneur. Marketers use StoryBrand to eliminate confusion, improve their messages, and connect better with their audiences. 

As Miller asserts, “Brands that realize their customers are human, filled with emotion, driven to transform, and in need of help truly do more than sell products; they change people.”

When identifying their audience, brands tend to limit themselves to highlighting the external problems people may have, neglecting the internal challenges. However, people’s internal desire to resolve a frustration is a greater motivation than their desire or interest in solving an outside issue. 

Let’s say you’ve developed a team management platform. Normally, you’d focus on identifying the characteristics of individuals who want to streamline the team management process. The StoryBrand framework teaches us that when defining the audience, we have to dig deeper and understand people’s internal frustrations and challenges.

In this case, you may discover that people need team management to solve internal problems such as improving cooperation among team members. 

Knowing the external issues is only half the process. You must also analyze the internal frustrations people experience. Compared to the JTBD theory, the StoryBoard framework helps you uncover the internal drives, fears, and frustrations people have, revealing a more detailed description of your target audience.  

Define Your Webinar Target Audience Using the StoryBrand Framework 

Webinars are a unique opportunity to drive engagement and build relationships with your audience in a live setting.. You’re not running webinars only to showcase your product or service. You’re also doing it to connect with your audience and help them expand their potential.

To achieve this, though, apart from comprehending the specific results people want to achieve, you also have to identify how your audience feels about their challenges and their future self. Are they frustrated or fearful about an issue they’ve experienced? Are they excited when envisioning their desired results? 


By tapping into your audience’s emotions, you’ll be able to craft an empowering webinar topic along with a strong promotional campaign. For example, you may identify a specific challenge that confuses your audience. You can then focus your webinar topic on walking your audience through the points that will help them eliminate their confusion. Having this in mind, to identify the target audience using the StoryBrand framework, you can ask the following questions:

  • How will your audience feel if they can’t solve the challenge they have?
  • How will your audience feel once they achieve their desired outcome?

Also, you can conduct social listening and monitor the digital conversations people have on social media. When doing so, you'll want to identify the words that signal your audience’s emotional status. Pay attention to words and phrases such as, “I feel,” “overwhelmed,” “anxious,” “annoyed,” “relieved,” “excited,” etc. This way you'll understand how your audience feels about a specific challenge in their lives. Next, this information will help you pin down the right webinar topic to attract their attention. 

Final Thoughts 

The demographic details of your audience aren’t enough to nail your webinar. You need to dig deeper. So, when defining your webinar’s target audience, consider both the external and internal drivers. Focus on understanding what people want to accomplish, along with the internal reasons that provide impetus. This will give you a deeper insight into people’s motivations and will help you uncover powerful webinar topics and ideas that will truly speak to the audience you want to target.

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