Know your audience…please!

One of the first questions I want answered when I receive a brief is “Who are the people we are trying to influence?”.

Here’s a real example of the level of detail that we came across in a brief that was out for pitch recently:

“We generally attract visitors of all ages however it is generally younger families and the retired looking for a British seaside holiday.”

That was it.

It amazes me that so often the description is hazy and non-specific. It’s no good saying that you are targeting ‘ABC1 males’ or ‘young families’ because there is now so much diversity in behaviours, wealth, attitudes and media consumption amongst such general groups of people.

The best briefs demonstrate a real specific-ness and clear understanding of the intended audience. And that goes for business-to-business (B2B) communications as well. Too often B2B briefs talk about sectors and firms but actually the decisions-makers are human beings like you and I so you need to treat them that way.

So, here’s 3-step approach to help your agency spend their time wisely on working out what messages are going to land with your audience rather than try and figure out who they really are:

  1. PRIORITISE – even with John Lewis’s Christmas TV advertising campaign, they will have pinpointed the exact types of people who are the most important ones to reach ….and that will probably extend to no more than three groups. So, work out who are the most important people you want to communicate with and focus on them first.
  2. IDENTIFY – You need to provide your agency with a real insight into the people you want to speak to  – what do they spend their disposable income on, what are their views on the key issues in your industry, where do most of them live and work, how do their get their news and information, are they liberal or conservative, etc.
  3. BEHAVIOUR – Finally, be specific about what you want to influence, what is it that you want to change their minds about or alter their behaviour and why haven’t they been doing this up till now?

Three fairly simple things to find out about your potential (or indeed existing) customers that many companies neglect. If if done properly it will be a job well done and will give your agency a much better chance of doing what they do best – coming up with a creative and media plan that will reach them. Customer insight is core to the success of the likes of Amazon but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be core to yours too.


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