Is the target audience 'dead'?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
She’s a baby boomer, 50, two grown kids. Loves NASCAR and the ballet. Reads voraciously. Three dogs (she’d have more if the law and husband allowed). Votes, donates time and money. Travels. Practices yoga three times a week. Business owner, strategist, social media junkie.
Marketers, would you ever profile this person as your target audience? Of course not. No one in their right mind would dream up such a combination.
Yet it’s real.
Where on earth can you meet such a person? On Twitter, of course. She can follow people who share the same interests (albeit in different combinations, for sure). And she and they can connect in real time: have conversations, debate issues and share points of view.
The appeal of Twitter is that people can find communities of interest on a range of topics. And maybe that’s why it has taken off at such a phenomenal rate. People can be all the multi-faceted characters that they are – despite the fact they wouldn’t fit in anyone’s audience profile.
The trick for public relations and marketing professionals in the future is to find ways to connect with all the people that we are as individuals. So think about who you REALLY are. Then go out and find more just like you!
POSTSCRIPT: This blog post has prompted quite a few comments, both here and in person. The key point I'm trying to make is that I believe social media helps us turn the perspective around. Previously, marketers would identify their target audience and then plan strategies to meet them, based on a series of assumptions. Social media now gives us the opportunity to first search by relevant topic, and then find the people who are likewise interested. With social media, other assumptions (age, gender, occupation, etc.) are irrelevant if we search by topic first. So, you may not think a ballet lover and NASCAR fan go together...but they do. Who knows what other combinations are out there?
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