One of the most common (and tidiest) ways of breaking down audiences targeted through communications or campaigning is the following:
- People who like you
- People who dislike you
- 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:
- We bore those who like us. They may even feel patronised. They aren’t being encouraged to support us or advocate on our behalf.
- 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).
- 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.