Different audience, different approach

One of the most common (and tidiest) ways of breaking down audiences targeted through communications or campaigning is the following:

  1. People who like you
  2. People who dislike you
  3. People who are indifferent to you (or don’t know you)

In corporate communications, we’ve a habit of treating everyone as if they were in category 3. We’re constantly introducing ourselves and delivering the basics on repeat.

Which is a mistake on three fronts:

  1. We bore those who like us. They may even feel patronised. They aren’t being encouraged to support us or advocate on our behalf.
  2. We waste our time on those who dislike us, yet persist on trying to change their minds although it tends not to work (or take a long time when it does).
  3. We assume introductions to those who are indifferent to us (or don’t know us) will suffice. This group is key to success: we should not treat it as a homogenous unit, but break it down into segments and give precedence to those likely to yield the greatest reward.

In a nutshell: as tempting as it is to tell everyone the same thing and hope someone latches on, it’s best to ignore some, and prioritise others – and treat each category (and sub-category) differently.


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