OC’s Three Magic Words: Audience, Distribution, Purpose

Published: May 24, 2018

by Justin Difazzio

Part One: Audience Participation

Around the office we have three magic words when it comes to planning projects and helping clients figure out the best way to make an impact. Those three words are audience, distribution, and purpose, which we lovingly call ADP. Focusing on these three aspects of a project has kept our attention on what really matters when a particular set of options has our clients or our creativity a bit bamboozled. Stay tuned for the posts about distribution and purpose, but right now we’ll be focusing on the first of these: audience.

At first glance, audience seems like a pretty cut-and-dried concept, right? It’s simply the people that you intend to see whatever project you’re putting together. But sometimes finding your audience is anything but simple. When what you’ve been doing isn’t working, that’s absolutely an audience problem. When you’re not getting a response from your audience, it’s time to look at who that audience is and what they might want from you.

Know Your Audience

You know those times when you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and you come across an ad that makes you curl your lip and find the “hide all ads from this source” link? That’s an ad that has gone out to the wrong audience. Maybe the business targeted all users in your state between the ages of 30 and 50. Maybe they were aiming for a different income level and you just happen to like to look at fancy cars online. You’re not shopping for a Gucci handbag, though, so those purse ads in your feed are just wasted money.

Knowing precisely who you are trying to reach is crucial for measuring the effect you’re having—for example, figuring out your return on investment (ROI). You might be casting too broad or too narrow a net. If your new video isn’t getting watched, maybe it’s not reaching the audience you intended it for. Adjusting who is being targeted by boosted content could change that for you. Maybe the audience you intend to reach isn’t interested in the message. Check in on that audience to see if reworking or rewording what you’re saying might change their response. Both of these things might require a rethinking of who your audience is.

Audience Determines Content

With a focus on your audience from the start of a project, your content can be more direct. Your current marketing focus may be to attract new business. Therefore, your audience wouldn’t include people who already buy your products or support your cause. Your message, then, would take on an entirely different tone than one that goes out to your email subscribers or your repeat consumers. The more specific you are about your audience, more effectively you can tailor your message to reach them.

Conversely, knowing who your audience is NOT can also help you conserve your resources. Don’t waste time researching particular aspects of a message that your audience won’t care about or respond to. This might take some trial and error, but with practice you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, especially with a repeat audience. Analytics showed that people tuned out when the talking head showed up in your last video? This time, find a better way to tell that information. It’s all about knowing your audience and knowing how to keep them interested.

Audience Is Only Part

While knowing your audience is super important, it’s just one aspect of how we work our magic. Come back for the second part of this ADP trilogy, where we discuss distribution, and how paying attention to where a message is being introduced can tell you a lot about how to make that message effective. And after that, we’ll be talking about purpose, the third magic word in our trilogy, and probably the most important aspect of all.

Part 2 Part 3