Chapter 2: The Discovery Process
With so many ways to share messages – from the language used to the channel where it appears – knowing the intended audience and what these people want, need and care about is an important area for discovery.
When you ask an organization about their target audience or “ideal” customer, many will say “everyone.” That may seem like a good answer in terms of sales volume or making many different types of customers feel welcome. But it’s a poor answer in terms of strategic public relations (and ultimately an organization’s bottom line in many cases).
Identifying a target audience doesn’t mean an organization won’t provide goods or services to other people. It just allows the organization to be more intentional and effective in reaching or building a relationship with a certain group, whether it’s for a shorter-term campaign or as long-term customers.
Audiences can be external or internal, positive or negative, consumers or influencers or media with the ability to sway consumers. The discovery process identifies past, current and potential audiences. It then digs deeper into those audiences identified as a target for the organization or specific initiative.
With a firm understanding of both your brand and your target audiences, you can seek out points of overlap or ways your organization can integrate into an audience’s lifestyle or appeal to specific wants/interests/need (WIN). As the discovery process moves into the planning process, this information will support development of messaging, visuals and platforms tailored to the specific audience.
A veterinarian who specializes in guinea pigs might also care for many other animals. But if the vet identifies guinea pig owners as a key target audience, there are some strategic things he or she can do to build awareness locally that the practice knows a lot about guinea pigs.
The vet clinic still welcomes other pet owners, but its strategic public relations and marketing efforts focus specifically on guinea pig owners. The increase in business from targeting guinea pig owners alone likely would surpass increased business from more general efforts to reach pet owners (especially when they could be lost in the clutter of competing vet clinics spreading similar messages). It’s also a win for the target audience. Guinea pig owners likely prefer a vet who specializes in their animal.