In journalism we’re really great at finding and pointing out problems, less so at highlighting solutions. It’s that focus on the latter – providing clear, actionable answers to digital dilemmas through data driven insights – that compelled me to cross over to the other side and work at Whispr Group, our new Content Manager Lee Roden writes.
A decade as a journalist has made me acutely aware that one of the hardest things in contemporary communications is effectively reaching your desired audience. It may sound simple on paper, but without sufficiently defined information on exactly who that audience is and how you're most likely to connect with them – customer audience insights in other words – the challenge multiplies tenfold.
Our pursuit of reaching that audience often lacks focus, and risks being shaped more by our own bias than a neutral evaluation of their sentiments and behaviours. Endless amounts of time, budget and resources can be allocated trying to solve the equation. Yet without a nuanced picture of a target group’s habits, needs and expectations, trying to connect with them ends up being as refined a process as throwing stuff at the wall in the hope that it sticks. Quality audience insight matters, quite simply. But it’s not easy to come by if you don’t know who to ask. That’s where Whispr Group’s expertise comes in.
The good news is that simultaneously, the multitude of channels and platforms available mean that now more than ever we all have outlets at our disposal to express our wants and needs. Paying attention to those expressions through for example targeted social media analysis, and genuinely understanding them, is the key to optimising the processes we use to try and tune in to our target groups.
Customer audience insights can play a vital role in reducing the risk of the big enemy in the quest for successful communication: our own bias.
And insight derived from this kind of analysis can play a vital role in reducing the risk of that previously mentioned big enemy in the quest for successful communication: our own bias. This approach bypasses assumption in favour of taking a deeper look at what people already choose to put out there of their own accord; taking in information straight from the source, not filtered or steered by our predefined questions and prejudice. From there we can listen, learn, and with the help of the right specialists, create a specific roadmap upon which to build a strategy that’s equipped to effectively reach our desired demographic.
We may believe for example that the companies in our industry who dominate traditional media coverage dominate the broader discussion among consumers. But data shows that’s often not the case, in a world where different target groups have very different sources of input thanks to the endless offering of outlets available. Struggling to break through to your audience despite dedicating valuable resources on advertising? Perhaps you’re advertising in the wrong place…
Thorough, focused analysis can also reveal opportunities for improving content and how to better ensure it lives up to the standard your audience expects. Closer scrutiny may show your target group is more highly informed about a subject than you previously thought – then it’s time to tweak your output accordingly if you want to meet their level of demand. If the analysis shows that certain concerns are vital for potential customers, then there’s clear cause for properly explaining how your brand’s values live up to those “musts”.
Olof Gränström’s sustainability communication analysis throws up many clear examples of this need to keep up with the ever-changing cognitive map of our target audience in connection to a hugely prominent issue that no brand can afford to ignore these days.
There are gains to be made too thanks to the guidance analysis can provide on how to connect with and relate to demographics that are typically difficult to reach through more traditional market research: knowing more about how a typically cautious group is likely to react is a powerful tool, and avoids relying on guesswork. With a more solid hypothesis as a starting point, you can then more effectively follow up with focused surveys, rather than having to go through ten rounds just to hone in on that elusive group in the first place.
The crux of the matter is that analysing and understanding how consumers interact with and converse about our topics of focus can have a transformative effect on share of voice in the area, identifying valuable opportunities for growth and helping us learn from previous errors. Turning unstructured data into clearly actionable insights can produce gold dust in our quest to reach the right people, the right way.