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Targeting Specific Media Communities and The “Death of the Mass Audience”

Published on April 10, 2014

Media Coverage Toronto

In the 90s there was a popular phenomenon called ‘flyer parties’. The basic premise was that if you were planning on throwing a huge Banger of a house party you would mock up an eye-catching, cool-oozing party invitation on one piece of paper, head to the copy shop and print off as many as you could afford (or try and do it at work like the rebel we clearly were). Then you would recruit your friends to scatter the flyers anywhere and everywhere, to as many people as possible. In a perfect world this mass marketing strategy would net all different types of people to show up, making your party that perfect mix of weird, cool, and memorable. Of course this would, in-turn, solidify your reputation as a legendary host. Nowadays, a specifically targeted Facebook invite as well as simply spreading the party details word-of-mouth through your coolest friends and acquaintances is the more likely route to achieving the same outcome.

These are two different strategies to achieve the perfect, well-attended party and both are also meant to reach as many people as possible. It’s just that the flyer method envisions getting the message out indiscriminately while Facebook invites and word-of-mouth, through select people, is a much more targeted strategy. There is so much advertising and marketing noise out there today that people have had to develop filters for what type of content they let in. This has resulted in a type of “death of the mass audience”. As marketing professionals, we now have to engage a targeted audience with relevant and interesting campaigns in order to grab people’s attention, and get them talking and spreading the word.

Understanding your audience is vital to creating effective marketing strategies. This involves a complex understanding of who your audience is, what they do, what they talk about and share, and how they behave of react toward the media. Targeting audiences also means finding out who the trendsetters and influencers are. Whose opinions and recommendations are respected? Research shows that it is more efficient to target influencers who will spread your brand message for you. It is also important to figure out where your audience can be found. Are they social media users on twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn or do they listen to satellite radio or loyally watch breakfast television?

Audience research has shown that messages or texts are interpreted in very different ways depending on a range of social, cultural and contextual factors. It becomes our job to get a deep understanding of the factors that affect consumer choice for our clients. Media is now much more personalized and this privileges interpersonal communication skills. This new playing field offers great opportunities to create unique campaigns and develop intensive brand loyalty as we are now able to get to know our consumers better than ever.

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