Know Your Audience

In a time when technology moves faster than people, things are different. In this ever changing landscape, newspapers are traded for Facebook, cable is swapped for Netflix, and texts are exchanged instead of phone calls.  Rules change, procedures change, and even communication styles change. Some things, however, still remain raw and untouched. For instance, the first rule in entertainment is to know your audience. This applies when producing a film, book, or even an ad. Let’s face it, if your audience is not entertained when they receive your ad, then you cannot technically call it an impression. In order to impress your audience, you must entertain them, and to entertain them, you as the advertiser need to know exactly which demographic you need to reach.

The best way to understand knowing your audience is to watch stand-up comedians.  A comedian immediately needs to relate to his consumers, the crowd in front of him. He will start his routine with funny observations about the situation the two (the audience and comedian) have been put in. It could be a variety of things, “Hello Dallas! Where are all of the taxis in this town? You are a taxi-less city” or “San Fran, (the crowd boos), Oh no, you don’t like that? Tell me, does anyone wear normal clothes in this city?” If the comedian gets a laugh, then he knows they have all connected. If the crowd doesn’t laugh, the comedian has misjudged his audience and now has a hole to dig out of. Imagine you have a comedian that has an entire bit about parenting children and spends twenty minutes performing in front of childless college students. The jokes might be funny, but not to that particular group.

Find your audience. Research, research, research. Become a practicing advertiser. The first place to find your audience is to look at current clients. Who is already buying your product or service? Male or female? What race? What age range? Survey people. Look at every pattern indicator. For example, you will not sell Ford parts to Mercedes drivers, for the simple fact that they have no use for them.

Speak to your audience. There is a consumer for every product. Someone, somewhere is looking for exactly what you are selling. Speak their language, figuratively and literally. Connect with them, and then sell them your product or service because they want it, not because they need it. They don’t need low payments on that Honda, they want to look good in that Honda. My spouse didn’t buy the new shoes because they were cheap, she bought them because they made her feel good. Connect with your audience. Show them why they want what you have to offer them.

Place the ads in the right place. A medical client of ours wanted to buy TV media (air time) during a sporting event. That’s great! Lots of people watch sporting events. Well, we did some research. We surveyed thousands of people across the large footprint area and found out some stunning information. Eighty percent of all medical decisions in the household are made by women 35-54. Knowing this information, we recommended that our client not buy TV media during the sporting event. We are not saying that women don’t watch sports, we just know that sports skew higher for men. We recommended that the client purchase media on a channel that skews high for women instead. The placement was a hit, and business grew.

As I’ve learned in a lifetime of selling entertainment, the best way to grow your business or your client’s business is to spend the time to understand with whom you are speaking. Once you have that information, you can then tailor your approach to reach that specific group.  Advertising has certainly changed throughout the years, because society has changed, but what has and always will remain the main rule in advertising is to know your audience.

 

—Bobby Paschall

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