Why Audience Research is Essential for Digital Marketing

A generation ago, most successful marketing involved a ‘shotgun’ approach: Make a big investment in a TV commercial or newspaper ad, aim for the demographic center, and take your best shot. The idea was to reach as many people as possible, in hopes that enough of them would happen to be interested in your type of product or service to make the investment worthwhile. By hitting as broad a target as possible, the quantity of people you’d connect with would make up for your inability to determine quality.

Between those old times and today, many large companies have fallen away into irrelevance because they were too slow to realize that the game had changed. Today, quality really is an attainable goal for marketers – and not just for those who have put together an email list of potential customers. Since marketing tools in the present environment more closely resemble a scalpel than a shotgun, and virtually anybody can be isolated and reached through current technology, the challenge now is how to define the word ‘quality’.

If Your Company Occupies a Niche, Then So Do Your Customers

There is no getting around it: Audience research is necessary to determine who your customers are, both current and potential. From there, you’ll be able to isolate those precise demographics and raise your profile within it. Of course, you can always enlist the help of our digital marketing agency in Bangkok, Thailand if you need some help. The process of audience research is explained below, as we highlight the 3 main reasons why it is important to know your audience:

  1. To create content that will resonate with their interests. As mentioned earlier, many companies have put themselves at a competitive disadvantage by failing to keep up with new marketing technology. But many others have also lost momentum by failing to recognize that their customers had new media technology as well.

    People used to be stuck watching TV ads because there was no way to skip them. Nowadays, if your message doesn’t resonate with your audience, they’ll just unfollow you online, and it will be hard to win them back. By knowing your audience better – what do they want? what excites them? what are they interested in? – you’ll be able to craft messages that genuinely appeal to them, building a core of loyal followers.

  1. To ensure you are able to target them. With a shotgun approach to mass communication, there was at least one benefit: If you were anywhere near the target, you’d probably hit it. With a scalpel, if you’re just a little bit off, you might miss your goal entirely.

    Years ago, a large fast food company tried to increase sales by lowering the prices of its hamburgers and other menu items. The lower prices were offset by cost-cutting away from the kitchen; the company decided to save money by maintaining the cleanliness of the bathrooms less frequently. The fast food chain expected to see more diners due to the low prices, but the opposite happened: Sales went rapidly down. They hadn’t realized – because they hadn’t done the audience research – that many of their customers were women who came to the restaurant largely to use the bathroom, and they’d appreciated the fact that it was reliably clean. When bathroom standards fell, they went elsewhere.

    An analogous situation exists in the world of advertising. Pepsi’s disastrous miscalculation with its Kendall Jenner ‘protest’ advertisement managed to offend just about everybody who watched it, resulting in the ad being pulled and a tearful apology by Ms. Jenner. Pepsi hadn’t taken the pulse of its audience, and got burned for its mistake.

    Positive examples abound as well; Nike’s recent gamble on its controversial Colin Kaepernick advertisements was a huge success, also garnering over $160 million in free media coverage, mostly positive.

  1. To ensure you are able to find relevant content partners. The free media coverage that Nike received was surely anticipated by its marketing team. TV shows, newspapers, marketing magazines, sports reporters, and a host of other media amplifiers instantly began producing content with Nike’s name all over it.

    If Nike chooses to, it can open its door to a round of media interviews with Colin Kaepernick, or its own marketing team, or its executives – each of whom would be eagerly quoted by all types of outlets, further pushing Nike’s bravery into the realm of public awareness.

    Nike, however, is a dramatic example. A more standard case would involve a company presenting a new product, and selecting one or two media outlets to get a ‘sneak peek’ at it for an early review or profile. Of course, the careful selection of which media outlets to allow, and how to frame your presentation to them, will depend entirely on your audience research. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and these outlets will be the ones to introduce your new product to the public. The presentation, therefore, needs to hit all the right buttons for the people you want to reach.

    As mentioned in a previous article, you may decide to use macro or micro influencers as your amplification tool, rather than standard media – at least at the outset. Such decisions, and all the details involved, will depend on knowing your audience as well as they know themselves.

Marketing, with its power to make or break your company’s fortunes, shouldn’t be left to chance. If you’d like to give your digital efforts an upgrade with Lexicon’s full suite of services – including audience research, of course – contact us today.

Lexicon is a full-service digital marketing agency in Bangkok, Thailand. We specialize in corporate storytelling and produce all of our content in-house, including branding,  copywriting, video production and graphic design. Lexicon’s social media marketing services start from just 25,000 THB per month.


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