Who is the Target Audience? Marketing to your Stakeholders

When designing anything in marketing, the first consideration to test against it audience. The first group which comes to mind is the consumers. It is almost a given that any and all marketing communications is targeted towards changing consumer perceptions- but often in this pursuit many other audiences are ignored or forgotten.

Stakeholders Marketing Atom Framework Peng Tiong

Within marketing, a customer is defined as any individual or entity which in some way interacts with your product. While they may not be the end user, they may contribute to the decision or the purchase. Simply put, customers are the people who use your product, finance the purchase, or buy your product.

Many companies neglect existing customers to pursue a broader consumer category. While it is a good idea to target prospective customers to increase sales, neglecting an existing, loyal base can have consequences. Every business owes its success to loyal and existing customers- and often not much marketing is required to nudge this already persuaded audience to repeat purchase. Ensure retention strategies exist to existing customers do not fall to competitors.

A consumer, on the other hand, is defined more broadly. A consumer is an individual which is interacts with your industry in some way. Almost everyone is a automobile consumer- we all either purchase and drive cars or (for minors and those with lower income) want to someday. This industry has a very broad consumer group- excluding only hermits and monks living in caves. The company selling rocket fuel-nozzle valves in this case may have a much smaller consumer base consisting exclusively of rocket-science engineers.

This is the obvious audience. Target to them using a combination of logical and emotional appeals. Research about them, find out their needs, and cater your product marketing to appeal to them.

Besides these two obvious categories, there are four more: employees, shareholders, government, and the community. Depending on your industry, these may vary in importance.

Not many would consider employees an audience regarding marketing. Especially marketers not well verse in management and HR, it would seem that employees would naturally love your company and your product (they are getting paid to love it, aren’t they?). In the real world, however, this is usually not the case. Just as you would win the hearts of consumers, you should aim to win the hearts of your employees.

Employees who believe in the company and the product often perform much better at their jobs. Not only that, they are a great source of word-of-mouth. Imagine how many times you have heard someone complain about their boss, or their job. How much better would it be to hear someone rave about their company, and its products? Not only would HR thank you, but your sales team would too.

Shareholders (not to be confused with stakeholders) pertain to those who have some ownership of the company. While this mainly applies to larger organisations, it would be wise to approach marketing in a way which does not offend them either.

Many companies have a harsh view towards governments. Governments bear the stereotype to be restrictive and inefficient. Even marketers sometimes dislike the complexity of laws regarding what you can say and cannot. Sometimes, the line between fair and misleading advertising is quite blurry. This being true, there are still many reasons to consider them an important audience. Besides the possibility of grants and concessions, branding yourself so the government is sympathetic towards your company would help prevent tighter scrutiny and criticism. Ensuring that your marketing practices follow the law should be a given.

The community is one final consideration within audience. Even though many members of society would not be directly involved in your company, gaining the support of the community makes your life easier, and would indirectly pass on to consumers. In the best case scenario, non-consumers may decide to try out your product or support your company because they have such high regards for you. When designing a brand or marketing materials, remember that many outside of your consumer group may be able to see your messages. Promoting to computer purchasers and tech-savvy customers by calling non-PC enthusiasts peasants, for example, may lead to harsh criticism or in the worse case, boycotting. While it would be impossible and inadvisable to never offend anyone, being aware of the community when designing marketing practices is vitally important for ensuring your brand stays liked and relevant.

Stakeholders are diverse- they include customers, consumers, employees, shareholders, government, and the community. While there should definitely be a few which are your main focus, by carefully considering each group and their reactions to your messages, you would be positioning your brand for success.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
blog comments powered by Disqus