Knowing your target audience is a common-sense cornerstone in marketing, but how often are brands really doing this well? In the creative world, marketers can sometimes end up developing collateral to speak to a client or company’s agenda. This makes sense – it’s what agencies are hired to do, after all. But in focusing only on the end goal, marketers can lose sight of the person for whom the materials are being created in the first place: the consumer.
As researchers, strategists, designers and writers, we are constantly reminded of the importance of going back to the basics and grounding our work in who our audience is and what they need by asking key questions, such as “What does our audience care about?” and “Where do the client’s goals and audience’s needs intersect?” Throughout projects, we continually return to these questions to ensure that our work and our message is hitting the mark. And we’re constantly reminded how important these steps are in guiding meaningful, impactful work.
In a recent project, for example, a health care client was interested in developing a digital tool to support consumers interacting with social service programs. At the outset of the research, they expected to find that these consumers had limited access to or familiarity with high-tech tools. By going directly to consumers, however, we discovered that the situation was quite the opposite. The participants we spoke to prioritized technology as a necessity in the modern world, even when finances were tight; they regularly used everything from mobile check deposit to Chrome Autofill. When we asked for their feedback, it became clear that not only did they understand the relatively simple functions of the tool the client had created, but also they wanted it to be even more advanced. To resonate with them, the tool would have to match the capabilities and complexity of the many other technologies they were accustomed to interacting with.
Building a foundation of real insights into your consumer is the key to developing a story that resonates. After all, there is a story at the heart of any communication. If that core message isn’t meaningful to the people who are being targeted, it won’t drive them to take action or lead to the outcomes desired.
These days, brand loyalty is often a thing of the past. Consumers are hungry for the best experience in every aspect of their lives and want to feel like brands “get them” in order to utilize a product or service. This new level of fluidity means that every act of outreach is a fresh opportunity for connection. The better we know our customers, the better we can speak to them in a meaningful way – and create real long-term engagement. After all, true storytelling comes from a person with a problem, not a business with an objective.
December 6, 2016 | Creative, Research