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You Are Not Your Audience

By EMMA JAMES Published 23rd Aug 2013
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Putting forward a proposal to improve a company, which conflicts with the initial plan, can sometimes be met with negativity. A growing concern for marketing agencies is telling a client that they need to rethink business plans, and waiting to find out if they will take on board your recommendations. Even though past experiences with trial audiences have shown a positive response to some recommended changes, clients still remain hesitant. Often this is because what the client thinks they want and what the client actually needs, do not match up.

Marketing is something that everyone engages with on a daily basis, yet not everyone fully understands what it entails: Some believe it is simply buying a new sign for the store front or sending out an email campaign. The reality is, the most important aspect of marketing is distinguishing the company brand.

When it comes to redesigning or refreshing the brand identity, some business owners are more willing than others to accept the suggested changes proposed by an agency or consultant. The unwilling participants may be uncertain about what they want their brand to say, or unsure of the redesign suggestions that have been proposed to them. Those who have previously encountered negativity with rebranding and redesign in the past may be fearful of making the same mistakes again. Others may pre-empt the negative experience and, as business owners, feel the need to be cautious and cover all their bases, acting out of doubt or worry. However, there are cases where the ideas presented do not fit with their idea of the company.

The trouble is, their idea of who the company is and what the company does may not be what their customers are wanting or seeing. One of the most important lessons to remember in business is the phrase: ‘You are not your audience.’

Put simply, what this means is: What you believe people like most about your company is not necessarily what people really like most about your company. If your time is spent focusing on the wrong aspects of the company, you will decrease your chances of recruiting potential new customers and run the risk of losing current ones.

One way of resolving this is by ensuring that you are communicating the correct message to your clients and potential clients. This can be achieved by carrying out research to find out how your customers perceive your company. The results will then inform you of what changes, if any, should be made to the communications: whether it’s an image change, introduction of a new product range or the targeting of a new audience entirely.

Participating in research can help remove any uncertainty before committing to a major change. It can also reveal aspects about the company that the owner had not previously considered: such as which product their audience prefers. By operating in the audience’s best interest, you stand to gain more loyal custom and you will be able to strengthen and develop the company in ways that you may not have considered doing if it wasn’t supported by these research insights.

This does not mean you are wrong to have ideas; just that they stand a better chance of blossoming with the weight of a research proposal behind them.

You are not your audience, but you are your company.

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221 weeks ago, by Tim
I agree Annabel. If in doubt, then ask.

It's nigh on impossible to get inside your prospects' heads. I believe it is also worth considering that what was important to them last year, for example, may have changed.
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