Know Your Audience, Every Member of it

Give the cool 20% of your audience cool stuff, like apps. Relate to the other 80% in ways that are less cool

Charles Benaiah, Founder & CEO, watzan
Charles Benaiah, Founder & CEO, watzan

Charles Benaiah
Founder & CEO, watzan

It's time to define the word know.

Marketers “know” who their audience is. We're just fuzzy on “what that audience wants.” In fact, even the word audience is wrong. An audience isn't singular anymore. It's plural, encompassing a multitude of individuals.
In an era of unparalleled choice, it's harder to guess what people want. So I went to ICAAC to learn what clinicians want.

If you want the stories, call me. I'm happy to share. For those with more to do than time to do it, here are the takeaways:

1. Talk to real people. You're busy. And it can be painful to ask random people seemingly random questions. Besides, you're going to get shot down—a lot. But talking to real people and listening to what motivates them is an increasingly forgotten art.

2. Start with the data, not the belief. A recent ICAAC study showed that attendees wanted printed guides, but staffers told me “most people use the app.”

And of the dozens of attendees I spoke with, more than 80% do not use the app. Reasons ranged from “I don't have a data plan” to “I trust paper.”  The most widely quoted reason was some variant of “I miss the old fold-out, at-a-glance program.”

Give the cool 20% of your audience cool stuff, like apps. Relate to the other 80% in ways that are less cool. You don't get points for being hip; you get points for connecting.

3. This is the biggie: Do something after you socially listen. Small-town store proprietors know the names and needs of each customer. Corporate ­marketers have the tools to do the same… but they don't.

Apparel brand Tommy Hilfiger is a good example. Tommy has gobs of data. It uses very little. (If someone from Tommy is reading, we're not picking on you. I wear your stuff proudly.) It sends me emails with my name. Occasionally it tells me about things I like that go on sale. But shopping at usa.Tommy.com is not personal. I must figure out what I want and where it is.

Today people curate social media platforms to make themselves central to their digital world. Companies who want our attention should do nothing less.

Know thy audience—who they are and what they want. Be proactive. Address each customer's needs. That's been marketing since forever. It can be the way we market today.


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