Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Defining the audience is an extremely important marketing communications task.

Unless the right audience is identified and reached, marketing communications cannot be effective.

Research and analysis used to identify and develop an understanding of audiences.

Messages and media are then chosen to reach selected targets effectively and efficiently.

The most obvious target audiences are customers, but these should not be thought of as the only targets.

Consumers are another group. Whereas customers are buyers, consumers are users and as such influence the decision to buy.

Sometimes they may be the same people, but often they are not.

In industrial purchases, this is typically the case. In family situations, the mother may make many household purchases but do so for other members of the family.

In situations where trade intermediaries are used both trade customers and the end customers/consumers will need to be targeted.

Promotional strategies are known as push (promoting to the trade) and pull (promoting to end buyers and users) strategies.

A third category of target audience is other influencers. These, alongside customers and consumers, are the principal members of the ‘decision making unit’, any one or combination of whom may be selected as targets.

Such a group might come together formally, as in industrial markets, or informally, as in many consumer purchase decision.

Influencers for a child’s toy, for example, might include the child, friend, teachers, relatives, parents and the media.

If marketing communications are used to ‘influence the influencers’, more favorable outcomes may occur.

For this reason, opinion leaders and the media may be specially targeted when new products are being launched.

It is wise to consider a range of target audiences (both ‘push’ and ‘pull’) when planning marketing communications and their specification should be as precise as possible.

The most widely quoted approach is use of the social grading system.
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