audienceIt’s important to know your audience. I had a dream once…a local fire department was looking for ways to publicize the importance of fire safety to kids. They also wanted to show how cool it was to be a firefighter by developing a comic book. Great idea. However, they were hell bent on approaching Sprite (the soda) as a sponsor. I asked them why? They simply said, kids love soda and they love Sprite. Well, this may true (although not all kids) but just because kids love it, is it the right partner for your creative venture? Would kids respond better to a comic book about fire safety if Sprite was a visible brand or would they care either way?

I explained to the firemen that not all brands want to directly market to kids, even though they may be an overt target. With child obesity on the rise, a soda maker like Sprite is probably going to focus on a target older than 18 so they can bypass all the legalities that come with marketing to minors. No, I don’t work for Sprite, never have…so this is just my assumption. My dream then took a twisty turn (as dreams seem to do) to a focus group setting where people were swallowing odd items in order to lose weight. Don’t ask, I have no idea where this went.

Pay Attention

The fact that I vividly remembered the fire department / Sprite scene made me want to write about it and the focus group / weight loss part was purely for your entertainment. Knowing your audience is something we try to master in marketing. Whether it’s a political campaign, charity, consumer product, celebrity, TV show, music, movies, etc. You learn the target market and you focus your efforts to reach them. The same goes for all of us in our everyday life, it’s just a bit more subtle. Say you have a friend who hates sports, do you invite him over to watch the big game? How about your friend allergic to shellfish, do you invite her to the crab boil? Your politically charged friend who loves to rant about whoever seems to be in charge, do you strike up a conversation about the latest congressional hearing (unless you want an argument)?

DobbyHow about that level headed friend who thinks all there is to life is work, work, work. Do you tell them about your dream to quit your job and paint beach scenes? How do you think they’ll respond? Will a negative response push you back into the creative closet or will piss you off so much you’ll quit that job and move to the beach? The choice is up to you, I don’t know what the heck you should do. My point is to know your audience, it’ll save you from potential hurt feelings, disappointment and unnecessary anger.

Have you any successes or challenges with knowing your own audience?

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