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Posted on 07.27.2010

Reaching Your Audience

Whether your organization is planning a multi-million dollar ad buy or staging a protest at city hall, knowing your audience is vital to a successful campaign. This simple – yet often overlooked – step in the planning process may seem like marketing 101, however many organizations drop the ball when they make assumptions about their customers or prospects without checking the facts. Developing messages that influence perception and move marketshare starts with some basic questions: * What are the demographics of my audience? * What are the psychographics of my audience? * What motivates them? * What do they care about? (what messages are most likely to strike a cord?) * How can I learn about them? * What forms of communication do they rely on? (email, mail, cell phone, etc.) There are several ways to find these answers: * Analyze your existing customer base. Look for patterns. While demographics (age, sex, and ethnicity) are important, look deeper. Study your customers’ shopping habits, values, interests and hobbies. How do you find this information? Ask them. Design an email survey, conduct focus groups or commission a full blown research study. * Think about who should be a customer but isn’t. Once you know who you are targeting, find out what they want. What’s important to them? Conduct primary and secondary research to confirm – or debunk – your hunches and use this information to shape your message. * Consider the source. Use the information you’ve gathered to select not only the mediums you use to communicate with prospects but also your words and visuals. For example, seniors need larger print while highly educated forty-somethings want sophisticated graphics and more white space. Conducting this research may produce data that’s hard to accept – especially if you learn your audience isn’t who you thought it was or your message is falling flat. But this process is crucial to sustaining and growing your organization, whether you are running a nonprofit, selling a product or advocating for a cause.

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