The Importance Of Knowing Your Audience


A few weeks ago I watched Alicia Keys’ performance at the UEFA Champions League Final in Milan.  The American singer was booked to perform as the pre-match entertainment before the showpiece European club football final and clearly wanted to please the audience.  She made plenty of references to being in ‘Milano’ and how great the city is.  She even changed the words to her hit “Empire State of Mind” from New York to Milano.  All great moves to appeal to the citizens of the Italian city.  However, it doesn’t appear that anybody told her that the match was being contested by Spanish sides Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid meaning that approximately 80% of the crowd had travelled from the Spanish capital.  The remaining 20% were most likely UEFA delegates and hospitality guests.  So her constant references to Milan being such a great city really did fall on deaf ears in that stadium and by the time she finished her set, a disinterested crowd hardly noticed that she had stopped singing until the tannoy system started playing the unofficial football fans’ anthem – Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

If someone had done their research for Alicia then she could have adapted her performance to reference Madrid a little more and may have been a bit better received from the mainly Spanish audience.  And this is the point, its about research, knowing who is watching what, where and when.  Sometimes your audience might not be as obvious as you think – you can’t always make assumptions just because you’re performing in Milan.

One of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign is knowing who you are talking to and tailoring your communications accordingly.  Its not rocket science but its surprising how many plans and communications don’t do this.  There is often a ‘one size fits all’ approach with companies putting their messages out there in one style and expecting everyone to understand it and take it in.  Customers are more discerning nowadays and they expect companies to talk to them not at them.

We talk to clients a lot about tailoring a video for their audience or it could be a specific target group within that audience.  This can be based on anything from the content of a video to the duration but it has to appeal to who you’re talking to.  Its the same for any tool that you might use in your marketing campaign.  It can go a long way to relate to your audience and talk to them on their level rather than just throw out information that you think they might want to hear.  Its getting easier to find out who your audiences are too, there are so many analytics tools out there which tell you everything from demographics to user habits, interests and even devices that they use to find you online.  Ultimately you can know exactly who you’re talking to at what time and tailor your message accordingly.  If someone had told Alicia Keys that, then she might have gained a few more fans amongst the football fans of Madrid.

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