Hitting the target: Telling the right story to the right audience

5 May 2017

Identifying the right target audience should be the first thing on the list after setting goals and objectives for any PR campaign. Simply put, a campaign will not be effective if you do not hit the right target – even if you have the most creative ideas and a tremendous budget.

Know your goals and objectives
It is of utmost importance to agree on goals and objectives, as this affects how you define your target audience in the first place. Common goals could include raising brand awareness, engaging fans, and attracting potential customers. If the goal is to raise brand awareness and knowledge, the target audience can be more than one type and should be as wide as possible, as long as they are relevant to your brand. To increase loyalty of current customers and members, you have to have a clear understanding of who the existing fans of the brand are. To educate potential customers, think about what other market segments might be interested in your brand and think about how you can best communicate your brand values and create new needs for them.

How to find your audience
There are several ways to identify your target audience and gain insights into their behavior. A traditional way is to conduct marketing research such as statistical analysis, in-depth interviews or focus groups. However, these methods at their highest quality can be costly and require considerable time. We tend to identify target audience segments based on our experience. Another effective way is to analyse your client’s social pages. By looking at insights and statistics exported from these platforms, you will be able to know more about the geographic and behavioral patterns of people who like the page or reacted to posts. You can then decide from there if you want to target people who are interested in your brand or to expand your reach to new targets.

The importance of finding the right audience
Targeting the right audience affects the strategy, execution and media channels adopted throughout the campaign. The lifestyle, habits, preferences and values of people of different ages, income levels, education levels, nationality, and ethnicity can differ significantly. Languages, tone and manner, activation ideas, communication platforms should be considered in light of these factors.

How to create a targeted message
Remember to speak the right language. No, not if they speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English, French or Portuguese. Of course this is also important, but the language I am referring to is: do they speak art, tech, music or sports? Do they speak millennial language? What kind of slang do they use? Do they read words at all or are they more attracted to visuals? Recently, I have seen on the internet a hilarious but ingenious way to attract the younger generations to the seemingly boring world of English literature.

An effective way to sharpen this skill is to read extensively through newspapers, magazines, online articles and social media platforms in order to know more about the interest of the target audience and what they’re talking and thinking about. My practice is to subscribe to different publications which are relevant to the market sectors of the accounts I am managing and set Google Alerts to instantly receive news and mentions of my clients and the industries they are in.

Who to tell the story to the audience is also something we have to bear in mind, as finding the right brand endorsers can amplify the effectiveness of your campaign. It is getting more important to have a personality speaking for your brand, be it a celebrity, specialist, professional or influencer. After all, people are more interested in stories of a living, breathing human than a corporate machine.

Consider the channel
Creating target messages without delivering them through the right channels is like a drunken letter never sent. To reach out to a more mature audience, for example, think about TV and print media, while millennials are more receptive to mobile and influencer marketing, and content marketing on Facebook and email may work better with baby boomers. It is also useful to take into consideration where the audience usually goes to and what transportation they take. One thing we have to be careful about is not to underestimate the tech-savviness of the older generations. My mum reads news, watch TV shows and shares information 24-7 with her friend groups using mobile apps.

Even though there are already conventional practices, there’s no harm in thinking outside of the box to bring unexpected surprises to a target market. Be creative, and you might hit targets you never even considered.

Be human, not corporate - tell the story that your target audience is interested in listening to

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