How to More Effectively Connect with Your Audience
As a marketer, the most important thing you must understand is your customer. You can purchase the latest and greatest technology. You can adopt the latest and greatest channel. You can integrate the latest and greatest theory. But none of this will matter if you do not make an emotional connection with your customer. A great first step to making those connections is developing an audience matrix.
In a recent Forbes’ article “Great Brands Aim For Customers’ Hearts, Not Their Wallets,” the author emphasizes that “people decide which brands to buy and which ones to stick with based on how they make them feel. That’s why brands aren’t in the business of selling products — they’re in the business of forging close emotional ties with their customers.”
Understanding your customer is at the core of formulating your unique value proposition, creating motivational messaging and delivering relevant communications.
As R+M has been in business for more than 20 years, it’s not surprising that our Audience Matrix has evolved. We’ve learned that asking the question “what is their personality” leads to too much information and not enough knowledge. We’ve learned that knowing their title doesn’t necessarily illuminate the challenges they face. So we studied and tested and studied some more to get to where we are today.
Here are a few factors we consider in our Audience Matrix:
- There is a tremendous amount of research available regarding the proclivities of each generation. We have found this contextual information to be value – helping us to understand the experiences they are likely to have had (which no doubt informs their preferences) and the people with whom they are likely to identify.
- Documenting titles are a good idea, but let’s dig a little deeper into what they are dealing with every day. For a moment think about your day – the emails you can’t get to, the deadlines that are stacking up, the meetings (and more meetings) that are on your calendar and then, there’s “that guy” who just wants a moment of your time. Make sure you understand where, how and why you fit into your customer’s day to isolate purchasing motivations. (And don’t be “that guy.”)
- This is probably one of our biggest lessons learned. For years every best practice informed us to ask about the personality of the audience. We understood why it was important, but couldn’t seem to transfer the answers into usable data.
- What is a personality? Your personality “refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving” according to the American Psychological Association.
- Why is a personality important? Your personality plays a significant role in the decisions you make. As presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in January 2013, University of Minnesota researcher Colin DeYoung’s study revealed “how extraverted you are may influence how the brain makes choices – specifically whether you choose an immediate or delayed reward …”
- A personality is unlikely to be black and white. We have found great value in looking at a trait as a range instead of as an extreme.
- Not surprisingly, one trait range we consider is the introvert/extrovert spectrum. A prospect can be “sort of an extrovert” if they barely tip the scale toward extrovert. Or they can be “a total extrovert” with little to no introvert qualities. That’s an important difference when you consider the strategies, tactics and communications you will create to connect with an audience.
- We challenge you to accept no “middle” answer, no 50/50 split. Ranges with middles are, in my opinion, giving us an easy way out. An Audience Matrix is absolutely the time to sweat the small stuff. The spectrums in our matrix fuel the conversations we believe to be most valuable in understanding factors critical to decision making, receptivity to relationship, communications style, etc. Your situation may result in the prioritization of different factors.
- While personality and values are related, it’s important to understand how they are different. Whereas one’s personality may indicate behavioral tendencies, one’s values are a door into their core belief system – essentially their judgment of what is right, good or desirable.
- As with personality we wanted to include these insights in our evaluation of an audience, but a spectrum was not the right approach. Instead, we use a ranking system to evaluate a selection of values.
- For example, in our listing of values we consider “belonging” and “recognition”. Understanding which is ranked higher among other factors provides us an excellent launch pad for discussion regarding the types of communications and experience we may wish to prioritize.
The above is just a sampling of some of the facets we consider in our Audience Matrix. Hopefully our lessons learned and perspective can provide value to you.
A year from now, we will (and should) be evaluating and improving our matrix in the context of contemporary neuroscience and psychology. These fields are shedding new light on how we as marketers can more effectively make brand connections and formulate productive communications.
We’d love to hear about your lessons learned and must-haves for creating a valuable Audience Matrix.
For more information regarding how we help emotionally connect customers to brands, please give me a call at 919-677-9555 x11 or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!