Pick your friends precisely: New standards for audience definition

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Sep. 28, 2011

One of the side effects of the democratization of the media—the opportunity for everyone to broadcast their stories to anyone who will listen—is that marketers need to be far more precise about who they are trying to reach. In a world where the average consumer is bombarded by as many as 4,000 messages a day (a number that is constantly growing) you need laser-precise targeting to attract the people you really want to talk to.

The days when the marketing plan could define a target audience simply as “women aged 18-35” are over. They should have been over a long, long time ago, but communications options were such that if enough money was thrown at a vague general audience through vague general media, enough attention would likely be attracted for the campaign to be judged a success.

Now, we are faced with millions of communication channel choices, and in order to make any sense of them and develop a logical approach to building a media plan and a creative approach to building, we need to know far more about the people we are trying to talk to.

The more precise you can be with your target audience definition, the more likely you will achieve exactly the results you are looking for.

In fact, if you can stop thinking about target audiences and prospects and customers altogether, and instead think about these people as friends, your whole attitude towards creating compelling messages will change. You’ll think about what makes them happy. You’ll think about what worries them.

Define precisely who you want as your friends, and then do things to make their lives better—as you would with any close friend. If you’re the guy making life better, your friends will stick around, and soon you’ll be the most popular kid on the street.

With a better, more well-rounded understanding of who you are working for, and a focus on building long-term friendships, you will be able to create more compelling messages, place those messages in more appropriate media, and attract a more qualified base of prospects to your project with less budget and more success. And isn’t that what we’re all trying to do, every day?



David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

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David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more




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