Know Your Audience

“There is no such thing as a Mass Mind. The Mass Audience is made up of individuals, and good advertising is written always from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.” -Fairfax Cone

Whatever you are selling, there is a good chance there are plenty of options to choose from—so how do you get them to pick you? How do you get a desirable audience reaction?

Make it irresistible for them to pay attention to you.

The first and most important thing is to know your target audience. This will guide what message and image to craft and how best to reach them. It will be far easier to create your message and elicit the intended reaction when you can identify your ideal customer. Keep in mind, if it is determined that you are speaking to multiple audiences, you may need to tailor the visuals, copy and tactics to each group.

For example, when speaking to a gymnasium full of teenagers, your tone, message, wardrobe and personality may come off differently than speaking with C-suite level professionals at a conference.

Keep in mind, reaching a large audience doesn’t necessarily signify the success of your advertising/marketing especially if the impressions are not reaching potential customers. People are inundated with content in so many ways and at such high volumes, so more and more they are subconsciously learning how to not pay attention.

There are many pieces to the puzzle, but a good place to start is to develop a presence that resonates with your target audience.

Now that you know who your ideal customer is, what’s going to motivate them to act?  Several things. Aside from giving someone what they want or need, it’s important to build your brand’s appeal. There is a lot of psychology wrapped around people’s buying decisions. Daniel Newman of stated, “The reasons that people buy are usually attached much closer to their emotional center than their rational thinking”.

Photo credit: Wieden + Kennedy

Take Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign as a case study for the value of knowing your audience. Working on a campaign that was originally a last-ditch effort to clear out inventory, Old Spice’s agency discovered that women held the buying power in making body wash purchases for the home. Realizing that a lot of men were just using their wife or girlfriend’s body wash, they decided they had to shift their target audience to women (without alienating men).

What ensued was the creation of what has now become an iconic campaign. NFL athlete-turned-actor Isaiah Mustafa’s smooth-talking “man your man could smell like” was one of the first viral ads when the industry was still trying to figure out how social media worked. By reevaluating who the target audience should be, and playing to their emotions and sense of humor, Old Spice managed to breath new life into a floundering product line.

Whether building a new brand, creating an ad campaign, or even scheduling your next tweet, before any new word or images are produced, it’s imperative to know who you want to reach.

Sources: AdvertisingAge, Adweek