Are You Remembering Your Target Audience?

When you come up with a communications plan or a cool new initiative, do you think about your target audience or do you focus on the bright shiny ideas?

Every morning when I get up I switch on CBC News Morning. Every morning for the last few months, without fail, I’m confronted by this ad from Grey Power  in the commercial breaks:

I won’t lie to you – I’d rather pull my teeth out than watch this commercial one more time. However, it’s quite possible that part of the reason for that is because I’m not the target.

It’s all a question of targeting

The commercial above isn’t aimed at me – it plays on a stereotype of young people that, quite frankly, annoys the hell out of me. However, that same stereotype may appeal to the people it targets – the 50+ age demographic (and people who like bad commercials… but I digress…).

Meanwhile, I think this riff on the old Budweiser "wassup" ads is great, but my parents would likely change the channel – they’re not the target audience:

Think: personas

Next time you’re in a brainstorming session or sitting down to write a communications plan, ask yourself:

  • Who are we targeting?
  • How old are they?
  • How educated are they?
  • How connected are they?
  • How much do they earn?
  • What do they care about?
  • Where’s the best place to reach them?
  • Why should they care about you and what you’re doing?

Think about these questions; develop personas for your target audience. Get inside their heads. Give them a name. Develop communications that reflect their wants and needs.

Once you’ve done that, you might be able to target your communications effectively.

Think differently

Since starting my career in public relations I’ve trained myself to stop and think every time I see advertising that I don’t like:

"Am I the target? Who is the target? What might they think of this?"

It’s surprising how often that leads me to view the advertising completely differently.

What do you think?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.