Ever feel like you need to take a step back and get back to basics? Today’s guest post from Big Red Rooster’s Rebecca Odell is a helpful reminder why knowing your target audience is still one of the most important pieces of PR. (Tweet this post!)
Post by: @RebeccaOdell
In college, my public relations classmates and I received several opportunities to create communications plans and campaigns.
As young whippersnappers eager to make a mark on the public relations field, we spent hours dreaming up tactics that highlighted our creativity and digital prowess. Despite our enthusiasm, I’m convinced my student loan debt would be nonexistent if I received money every time a professor made us put our flashy tactics aside and asked, “What is your objective, and who is your target audience?”
Although this question induced many sighs and eye rolls, I truly appreciate our professors’ efforts to drill the notion into our heads. In an ever-changing, tech-savvy world that thrives on efficiency and speed to market, it’s easy to get caught up in the madness and lose sight of why we’re communicating in the first place. As public relations professionals representing B2B and B2C companies across the globe, we’re not communicating just to hear ourselves speak: We’re communicating to connect with people.
Even the most seasoned professionals can lose sight of the who, what, when, where and why behind our efforts. Our target audience plays a core role in everything we do, so why not take the time to get to know it/them a little better?
So… who is my audience?
Many retailers and consumer-packaged goods companies (CPGs) thrive on understanding their audience, or consumer. They pour significant time and monetary investments into qualitative and quantitative studies that help teams gather valuable data and build audience personas. Insights inform particular messages, campaigns and even products/services built around these core consumer groups.
Let’s be honest: We all don’t have the same amount of time and resources as a Fortune 100 company, but we all can benefit from a deeper understanding of our audience or consumer. If you haven’t taken a deep dive into your audience lately, perhaps now is the time to delve into data and seek ways to learn a bit more about your audience.
Arrange in-person interviews with primary stakeholders. Dig into secondary research and existing quantitative data. Send a survey and offer incentives to garner responses. Clues and details about your audience are all around you: You just have to take the time to find them.
What affects my audience’s purchasing decisions?
Once you have a solid grasp on who your target audience truly is, it’s vital to understand how they make purchasing decisions.
Even if your target audience’s demographics have not changed drastically in the past five years, the way your audience shops and digests information evolved exponentially. Think about the channels that influence your own purchasing decisions. Today, consumers often use the web to conduct pre-research before making a purchasing decision. They read user-generated online reviews, and some even count on their personal networks to crowd source ideas and information. Heck: They’re even using mobile devices to gather information and make decisions while standing in a store.
Understanding who your audience is and how your audience makes purchasing decisions (in retail, this is often referred to as the path to purchase) will help inform where to communicate with your target consumers and what communications they crave.
What have you learned about your target audience lately?
Rebecca Odell manages marketing and communications at Big Red Rooster: a multidimensional brand experience firm. She’s a wordsmith, brand champion and self-proclaimed Pinterest addict with a passion for all things retail. Want to connect? Find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.