Why does knowing your audience matter?
It matters because we need our messages to be read, understood and for there to be a response.
What do you want your reader to know, feel and do?
We talk a lot about businesses creating connection and building communities but for that to happen we need to know who these people are. We need to understand them and know what makes them tick so that we can create messages that speak to them.
Bottom line – you need to know who you’re communicating with or you might as well just grab a megaphone, stand in the middle of town and shout, hoping for the best. Yes, some people will hear you but, in all likelihood, it’ll be the wrong people. At the wrong time.
Challenge your assumptions
Let’s start by challenging what you think you know about your audience. From working with my clients – mostly small business owners – I know that they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their clients built up through conversations, feedback and testimonials over the years. Add in analytics and insights from digital marketing and you can build a pretty accurate picture of who your audience.
But it’s easy to become complacent. A recent conversation with one client might overshadow a conversation with another with a differing attitude. It might be more convenient to remember an opinion that chimes with your own view of your business. And sometimes you can’t see the similarity between clients, maybe because they are from different demographics. This is why you need to consider psychographics – the factors influencing your clients’ behaviour as well as their lifestyle, life stage and work habits.
Buying decisions are complex and confused even when it’s buying a tin of baked beans
Let’s do a practical exercise that will shift our heads into a new space. In writing this blog, I dug out my old copy of Marketing, by David Mercer and looked up the chapter on ‘The customer’. It’s 36 pages long and is full of great content about customer behaviour, but this exercise jumped out at me, so I’ll share it here and ask you to have a go. It’ll help you to think about the factors that influence your buying behaviour.