COM0014: Assignment 1, Blog Post 3 – Targeting Audiences (Tara MacDonald)

About Us:

Face 2 Face Consulting Services (F2F) is based in Burgenland, Austria. We offer writing and communications services to small- and medium-sized businesses. We also offer social media management and sector-specific language training.

* Website coming soon!

Audience Identification:

As we gear up for the official F2F launch, identifying potential customers and finding ways to attract their business are our top priorities.

What do we know so far?

Burgenland’s economy is dominated by small- and medium-sized enterprises which provide a range of products and services, especially in the hospitality and beverage industries. Our target audience includes businesses-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) enterprises wanting to attract English-speaking clients and a greater share of foreign markets.

During Stage 1, we will focus on wine producers located in and around the market town of Gols. Gols is the heart of Burgenland’s wine producing industry and – due to proximity to our home office – makes face-to-face meetings easy.

Demographic Characteristics:

Demographics is the study of a given group of people. Here, you might look at age, gender, ethnicity and marital status. For businesses, demographics help you understand who buys your products or services.

Our target audience share a number of demographic characteristics, such as:

  • German-speaking with strong family roots in Burgenland;
  • Mostly Catholic with a few Protestant communities;
  • Largely family-owned and operated businesses with several generations working side-by-side;
  • Businesses appear to be headed by men, but women play a strong role in day-to-day operations and management.

Psychographic Attributes:

Psychographic attributes – or IAO variables – include  Interests, Attitudes, and Opinions. They could also include lifestyles, personality and values. For businesses, psychographics help you understand why customers buy your products or services.

According to Mandl & Dorr (2004)our target audience share a lot of IAOs such as:

  • Those active in traditional fields rarely use the internet to access external knowledge, especially entrepreneurs over the age of 30;
  • Follow ad-hoc or reactive planning for continuing education and marketing activities (i.e. after a problem has arisen);
  • Develop too few forecasts and strategies as a direct result of lack of time;
  • Tend to concentrate on existing competences and dismiss important industry changes;
  • Growing awareness of the importance of competence development (e.g. marketing, soft skills, industry-specific education).

Online Activity:

During the planning stage, our research discovered that:

  • Only 22% of wine producers had bilingual websites (English / German), while more than 25% had no website; and
  • 26% of accommodation facilities featured bilingual websites, while almost 20% had no website.

 Communications Strategy

Building a brand in a rural environment requires a unique blend of personal and professional strengths. It’s expected that timeliness, quality of relationships and social status within the community will be as important as quality of products and services.

Since traditional marketing methods are still very popular here, F2F will be promoted through face-to-face networking, business card distribution and mail-outs. We will also be listed on business directories and registered with the local Chamber of Commerce.

Supporting our face-to-face efforts, our website will feature information about our products and services as well as an introduction to my personal and professional background. In addition, our social media campaign will include: an industry blog, e-newsletters, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. These features will offer learning resources and help build our reputation as an industry specialist.

Do you have something to add?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Please comment below! 

Want to learn more?

This post was written as a requirement for COM0014: Digital Communications. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate programme today!

COM0015 Blog #5: Event Participation

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in some Google Analytics professional development with several of my colleagues at our campus in Pembroke. Chris McFarlane, the Google Analytics guru from our Ottawa Campus of Algonquin College, made the long trek down the 417 Highway to give us an overview of the features and capabilities of Google Analytics.

Chris McFarlane gives Pembroke staff some Google Analytics training

Chris McFarlane gives Pembroke staff some Google Analytics training.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tool, Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. It’s the most widely used website statistics service. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines and social networks, direct visits and referring sites. It also tracks display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents.

We were all very excited about this PD session because we have been making strategic changes to our website recently. With the help of Google Analytics we can track the effectiveness of any changes and reported on.

Source: Google Analytics website

Source: Google Analytics website

Though I knew all the participants in the PD session, it was an opportunity to get to know the facilitator a little better. As you can see from the photo above, our group was small. This allowed us to drive the conversation and exploration to suit our needs specifically – creating custom reports and exploring metrics relevant to us.

I am not shy when it comes to asking questions – I like to get the most out of my professional development opportunities as possible. We all asked a number of questions and contributed to the discussion in let’s say an ‘animated’ way…we get excited about new tools! Chris was very patient and fielded our questions like a pro.

Google Analytics - Pembroke Campus Dashboard screenshot

Google Analytics – Pembroke Campus Dashboard screenshot

During the session, I quickly realized that some additional PD would be beneficial. Google Analytics offers some great free courses and I plan to explore these further in the New Year. As Chris said “this is a powerful tool that takes time and energy to become comfortable with it.”

I wouldn’t think twice about attending a similar event down the road and hope that such an opportunity presents itself again soon.

If you haven’t had the chance to explore Google Analytics, I highly recommend you take the time to check it out!

COM0014 Post #7 – Have I learned to be a better storyteller?

The answer is yes. I have become a better storyteller and I have this course to thank.


Source: Rosenfeld Media Flickr

I have learned the digital storytelling is the process of oral storytelling with multi-media elements. Digital storytelling helps to create and build communities, to learn to communicate effectively and to help those reflect on their pasts.

But the question you must continue to ask yourself is, is your content strategy guided by audience intent or simply your intent? When it comes to content strategy your purpose should be to target your audience effectively with the intention that your audience should benefit from your story. The old-school content strategies are always around keywords, but what about audience  intent? There’s a lot of focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) around optimized landing pages (as there should be). Content, on the other hand, is more than just optimized website pages. Content is a means of communicating and building a relationship with an audience.  So, you should understand the audience intent. What would they consider useful? What would they consider interesting or engaging? What would they consider shareable? A great piece of content requires all of the things.

Source: Stories from the storytelling dog meme

Source: Stories from the storytelling dog meme

I know that there is a variety of stories that I want to tell, even shout from the digital mountain. I know that moving forward, I will continue to tell the story of our Waterfront Campus of Algonquin College including, our successes, our amazing and enthusiastic student body, and our lesser know stories – the diamonds in the rough so to speak. I hope that my passion for the college is seen as genuine and authentic – that I am engaging enough to cultivate an online audience.

What have your learned about digital storytelling? I want to know!

COM0014 Blog #3: Know Who You Are Talking To

When we talk to someone face-to-face, we know just who we are talking to. We automatically adjust our speech to be sure we are communicating our message. Many writers don’t make those same adjustments when they write to different audiences, usually because they don’t take the time to think about who will be reading what they write. To be sure that we communicate clearly in writing, we need to adjust our message–how we say our message and what information we include – by recognizing that different readers can best understand different messages.

At Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley, overall we have a diverse audience or student body, including a somewhat broad range in cultures, genders, income levels, education levels and lifestyles. The best way to approach your communication method is to break it down to your program audience.

Program Audience Case Study

Ex. #1 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing – we know that the audience is:

  • predominantly female
  • more cultural diversity
  • most students are under 25
  • majority not residents of Renfrew County
  • come from a house hold with a mid-high level income

Ex. #2 – Motive Power Technician – we know that the audience is:

  • predominantly male
  • very little cultural diversity
  • ages range from 17 – 35
  • most from Renfrew County
  • lower educational level
  • low-mid income families

As we know the demographics and psychographics for each program audience we can effectively communicate with these groups by customizing the message and delivery of that message to our targeted audiences.

I believe we do an effective job communicating with our student audience but there is always room for improvement, which is why we have started to hold more student focus group – as we all know, who knows our audience better than our audience.

Have you had the chance to experience post-secondary communication strategies and methods? In your opinion, what worked and what didn’t?