The Importance of Knowing Your Audience

…there seems to be a tendency in the non-profit world, in particular, to treat people and organizations as essentially devoid of individual characteristics  (“everyone is our audience”). But this simply isn’t the case…

So here you are. You finally got the big meeting with a potential partner a colleague told you would be a great match for your organization. But instead of doing some background research on who the company is, what they do and what they value (websites are good starting points) you decide to eschew looking into who you are meeting and wing it instead. After all, you know your organization inside and out and that’s all that matters.

Now I am sure some of you at this point are going, “Hey, that’s crazy!” and you know what, you are right.

The essence of all communication is establishing, maintaining and growing relationships with the people and organizations that do and will support your work. That means learning as much as you can about them: what their history is; what their organizational goals are; what issues inspire them to action; who they want to attract to their cause or business; how, when and through what channels they like to communicate….

Answering the last part of the preceding re: communication is essentially moot if you don’t know anything about them. And, in this age of new shiny communication mediums (especially in regard to social media) our rush to jump on the new technology often comes without clearly knowing who your audience(s) are.

Over the course of my career in communications, and even more notably since starting Second Revolution Communications, there seems to be a tendency in the non-profit world, in particular, to treat people and organizations as essentially devoid of individual characteristics (“everyone is our audience”). But this simply isn’t the case and is more indicative of the fact that many organizations simply haven’t taken the time and put in the effort to get to know who their supporters are.

So lets get to the point: in order to know your supporters/clients you need to do research: annual surveys that collect demographic and psychographic information; tracking at events (ex. business card collection); web analytics, PR (earned and paid); social media metrics (as relates to your core audience), core stakeholder analysis (staff, board, financial supporters and partners) etc. Building this work into your operational plans will soon make collecting this information a fait accompli. And, you will start to see just how important this information is for your corporate communications, marketing, public relations AND strategic planning.

If you are interested in learning more about your core audiences, drop me a note. Second Revolution Communications would be pleased to help you get to know one of the most important aspects of your business.

Image courtesy Michael Ging.

Keith Treffry

Keith Treffry

Keith is an award-winning communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience. He is the Director of Strategy at Second Revolution Communications.

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