Defining the core customer is a Marketing 101 necessity. The more information, the better the positioning and audience experience and acceptance of offering. This process is a well-defined 'discovery' stage in consulting and analysis is carefully documented for reference and precedence - even to the extent of family income, mortgage, magazine subscriptions, etc. Demographics of your audience like age, gender, education and income level give great insight into message and media.
In marketing, psychographics are the patterns that your audience follows which tie the “who” (demographics) to the “why”. What makes a customer want to buy your offering? How does it impact their lifestyle? What are their buying patterns? What are their hobbies and interests? What things are important in their lives? These are just a few of the endless questions that can help you better define who a target audience may be.
When I participate in IABC functions, communicators talk about the importance of 'knowing the audience'. However, when working with internal communicators, I often find the 'audience definition' is loosely verbalized rather than physically documented; out of concerns for profiling. I question the validity of these concerns, given that the information is readily available through external lists. The only difference is that the data is being cut by 'employer' rather than 'golf enthusiasts'.
How many communicators are actually creating audience 'composite models' or 'personas' as a method of better-defining employees and corporate culture and then using that documented data to influence the language, creative and positioning of their internal messaging? For example: If 15% of Hispanic employees participate in the 401(k) plan vs. 30% of Caucasians vs. 50% of African Americans... Do you target your communications to improve participation by the sector not actively engaged? Do you review the information from the data analysis of demographics and psychographics?
The heart of diversity and inclusion requires using this information in communications. Do you influence the recruiting efforts of your corporations by knowing what the current data is, and where the corporation wants it to be? Is your corporation striving to have a diverse culture in keeping with the makeup of the general population? Is it based in a real understanding of the demographics and psychographics of the employee audience, or is it merely another example of communications not requiring benchmarks of change; simply a demonstration of good will?
Why is it important? Check out The Business Case for Diversity from DiversityInc. Magazine. NJ/IABC was thrilled to give away a copy of this publication at our last event at Fairleigh Dickinson University, featuring speaker Bob Currie, VP and Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer from JM Huber Corporation.