If you are in public relations, you may have heard about, or know about target audiences. A target audience is a group of people you have identified as potential guests; candidates who may be interested in learning more about communication or leadership development. Target audiences share similar traits such as:
• Work status
• …and other traits and characteristics
When marketing to your target audience, its helpful think of your club as a business, and your guests as customers. Using a business lens model can help you craft promotional strategies and define your core customers – your potential members.
Instead of taking up your limited time trying to appeal to everyone, defining your target audience as your customer allows you to be more deliberate and also allows for more a personal outreach. When your outreach is specific and intentional, it becomes more individual (you are speaking to me!!), and your ‘customer’ will more likely notice and be curious about your Toastmasters’ product.
How to find your Target Audience?
The best way is to continue thinking of your club as a business. What very specific need does your club address? This is where you pick up the phone and ask each club member questions such as:
• How did you initially hear about Toastmasters?
• What compelled you want to know more about Toastmasters (what was their pain point?)
• Why did you show up to this particular club as a guest?
• What specifically was the deciding factor for you to join our club over another club?
What is a pain point?
Behavioural economics research refers to fear of loss or hope for reward; for example, a student entering college for the first time finds out they must give presentations on Zoom, and this is not their comfort zone.
• Fear of loss: I will look like a fool in front of others. I will fail the assignment.
• Hope for reward: Instructor will say “good job”. I will pass the assignment.
It’s important to identify the pain point, and who has those pain points.
The more specific you can be in identifying this, the more effective your promotional strategy will be, because the more personalized it will come across.
In the above example, your target audience is the post secondary student who is in their first year of study. But you need to drill further. Instead of presuming every first year student will want to learn how to become a better presenter, you may choose to focus on a specific program that actually requires students to present in class (i.e., business admin students) or drill down even further to precisely target your promotion (business students with English as their second language).
Toastmasters International has done a lot of the product research for you and has many resources available to download from their site at https://www.toastmasters.org.
Why is having a Target Audiences important?
While it might seem at first that you are better to reach as many people as possible, and it can feel that focusing on one specific segment of the population is limiting to your club’s growth, you need to consider you and your team’s capacity to reach potential consumers directly. Yes, it is more work upfront, but your team will see better results. There is a lot competing promotional noise “out there”; if you use a generalist’s approach in your promotions, you will have a hard time cutting through the competing promotional noise. Your promotional efforts will evaporate quickly.
Directly reaching people looking for the solutions to their pain points will get them interested in what you are saying.
This is why before you decide what your message is (the content) and how to deliver it, you need to understand who will be receptive to receiving it (what is their pain point). For people to buy into your club’s offerings, they need to relate to what you are promoting. A personal connection is made when you show you care enough to understand and address their pain point.
Is it okay to have more then one target audience?
Yes! If you have identified another need in the community, you have a separate promotional campaign for that audience. If we go back to our first -year college student example, another target audience is the student in their final year, applying for full time jobs and scheduling interviews to enter the workforce. Impromptu interview questions may throw them off; how do they prepare for those?
• Fear of loss: I will look like a fool in front of the interviewer. I won’t get the job.
• Hope for reward: the interviewer will nod and smile. I will get the job.
In the two mentioned examples, you have more than one promotional campaign occurring: one for the first-time student presenter, and one for the first-time interviewee. Each promotional campaign will have different content with a different tone, because each group will have different pain points.
Its always good to have more then one target audience your club is catering to. You don’t want to become too narrow-focused on one group that your overlook other potential consumers. But at the same time, don’t spread yourself too thin either. You want to be able to manage all campaigns with the same intensity. Two strong promotional campaigns are far more effective then four or five feeble ones.
And use target audiences as baselines, not as the supreme source of all that will avail the club. Its important to be continuously evaluating your target audience(s) and promotional strategies against your club’s overall goals and club executive’s goals.
• A target audience is a group of people you have identified as potential members; people who may be interested in learning more about communication or leadership development.
• Think of them as a likely customers of a business – your Toastmasters club.
• Defining your audience will help create a more efficient and effective promotional campaign.
• You can drill down more and have target audience subgroups, and even have more than one target audience.
• Regularly evaluate your target audience and promotional strategies against your club’s goals
Created by Nancy Movrin DTM Public Relations Manager 2021 – 2022