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Your key demographic... do you have their attention?

By: Chanie Pritchard at Sage Media

Submitted on Wed, Nov 22nd, 2006 12:00 am

In a rich media environment, audiences are in an increasingly constant state of distraction. We’re all busy, and there is a lot going on in our lives - our attention is valuable and limited. Unfortunately for businesses, this means that in order to cut through the clutter, they have to constantly repeat themselves and draw their audience’s attention back to important items, refocusing them over and over again. It’s a frustrating dance for both partners. The business may ask “how can I get this person’s attention?”, while the audience is left wondering “what’s this person trying to tell me? and why should I care?”

The key to market penetration is perspective… simple, right? Well not quite. Figuring out what makes audiences “tick” is actually one of the most complex and frustrating tasks in effective marketing. Perhaps the most common tactic is the use of personae in marketing campaigns. It’s easy, and it works (in a limited capacity)… if you want to sell to Joe.Q.Homeowner, Basket-lover, then it’s a simple enough task to develop a marketing campaign based on that specific personae, assigning 5-10 distinctive characteristics to Joe and using that data as a foundation for your efforts.

What’s missed, however, is the fact that much broader market penetration can be achieved through micro-segmentation of the market along all possible people who, in addition to Joe’s destinct shared characteristics, might have hundreds more which are distinct and not shared.

In creating the best possible personae, businesses must invest in determining which distinctive characteristics are the best drivers… the most important and impactful characteristics. These are the items that will motivate the audience to take action, and can be determined a number of ways, including audience-specific navigation patterns on the company’s website.

It’s easy to forget, but important to remember the simple fact that audience perspectives differ along demographic lines. Regional differences, age, gender and occupation will all affect audience point of view. To get and hold your audience’s attention (and keep their impressions of you positive), you need to market to different market segments. The implications of cultural relativity are not just thought fodder for theoretical sociologists… what does your campaign slogan translate to in other languages? If it’s “eat your fingers off” or “it doesn’t go”, you may want to rethink your message!

The use of effective imagery is a powerful marketing tool, but must be carefully considered as with all marketing efforts. Once you have your audience’s attention, you want to make the best possible impression. You’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort in planning your marketing campaign… it doesn’t make sense to cheap out on the deliverables.

Sage Media is an international corporate design firm based in Ottawa, Ontario.

About the Author

Chanie Pritchard
Sage Media
Chanie Pritchard, D.A. Founder, Sage Media Design Co.

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