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Audience identification is the essential first step for all marketing and communications

The first step in any effective marketing or communications program is audience identification.

Audience identification is the process of understanding an audience – their hopes, fears, motivations, influences, questions, problems and aspirations and the language they use to express all of those things.

Any strategy, positioning, messaging and differentiation must start with the audience.

The first step is not a list of keywords organized in a spreadsheet by rank and difficulty. It’s not platforms, technology or distribution. It’s the audience.

Yet too often, this step gets skipped.

Why?

We assume we know the target audience already. We think the target market is like us. Or worse we’ve seen an ideal customer profile (ICP) or buyer persona on a slide once or twice.

There are two problems with an ICP on a slide.

First, marketing and PR needs direct contact with customers and prospects (which can be challenging with the account manager model in B2B, but that’s a leadership problem).

Second, people change with time. Their needs, preferences and expectations all change with roles, experience and age.

Some of this is predictable. Much of it is not. We are irrational creatures.

This means audience identification isn’t just one initial step – but rather a continuous process.

Need an extra pair of hands?

Hire a B2B marketing and PR consultant who can think strategically and execute effectively. Contact me at frank-at-swordandthescript-dot-com for an introductory call.  Here are some useful links: about | services

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Image: DALLE

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