COM0014- Blog 3; Product or Target Audience? What comes first?

When it comes to marketing and advertising, in order to ensure that your business is getting the right exposure through your efforts, it’s important that you know who your “target audience” is and how and where to reach them. Before developing any new products or services, it is vital to understand who your client is.

Canva - Focus Photo of Yellow Paper Near Trash CanNow close your eyes and think about designing a new product or service without getting any specific information about target market, you will find it hard, Wouldn’t you? You might come with a product that appeals to your age group but perhaps might not appeal to clientele of the business because your age, preferences and taste differ. Hence, if you do not want to waste your dollars for advertising, it is vital that you breakdown your target market.  Canva - Target and Arrows

I have worked in Retirement homes and I always wondered who is their target audience to get them through the doors? Yes, I would agree with your thought process that it would be senior itself as they will be living in such a facility. But how about children of parents that will need to find an appropriate place when their parent(s) are unable to live at home by themselves. In my experience, a very small percentage of seniors would make this decision on own to change their living arrangements as it is hard and extremely emotional to sell the home that they have lived and is full of memories.

Canva - Pen Drawing on a MapWhen was the last time you opened a magazine or whitepages directory? When I started working in the industry, there was lot of focus on print ads and fast forward few years we stopped advertising in print and had everything digital. We had a lot of success in targeting our market through Google AdWords as majority of us like to go to Google to search for everything!

Our target audience for home was children of seniors in their 50s-60s both male and female with higher education and higher income level. The senior itself was anyone after age of 65 both male and female of any ethnic race, single, married or divorced; with high income level (private savings or higher pension) to be able to afford private care and enjoy the social environment.  Canva - Old Couple Walking in Nature

In conclusion, I would ask you, what comes first product or target audience? Can you design products before knowing your target audience or you design a product and then go find target audience matching your product?

COM0014- Blog #3 – Who is my Audience?

belleGif courtesy of rebloggy.com

I am a Young Adult fantasy writer. What exactly does that mean? Rachel Scheller, from Readers Digest, wrote this amazing article. It outlines what it means to write for a Young Adult audience. She says, “There is something crucial that I want you to remember about YA, and that’s the all consuming nature of being a teenager. It’s that sense of possibility.”

I write fantasy stories with fantasy elements that also contain a teenage protagonist.  My stories all contain witches, ghosts, demons, and any other magical type elements. It would make sense then, that my target audience are readers between the ages of 12-18. Young people, who enjoy fantasy and paranormal fiction. Publishers Weekly identifies in this article,  that more than half of the readers of YA, are adults. The largest segment is between 30-44 years old. That is important to keep in mind when targeting my audience. I also read YA, and not because I write in that category. I love the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, to name a few of my favorites.

So how do I reach such a diverse group of readers? The most obvious place is social media. Teens and Young Adults are following SnapChat, Instagram, and YouTube. Adults use Facebook and twitter. My biggest networking group would be bloggers who read/review Young Adult Fantasy. The followers of these blogs are also reading the books that they are all discussing. This seems like a great place to start. These bloggers also reach out to their reader’s social media sights. Sounds like a win-win to me.

As sited in the lesson plan, there are other methods for reaching the target audience group. Apps like Google trends, Facebook groups and pages are available with ease. These all help identify what my readers are looking for when searching for a book. I randomly typed into google, “What do young adults want to read now?” Cyndy Etler wrote the first article that came up.  She is an English teacher who writes about what she learns from her own teenage students. They tell her what they want to read. It doesn’t get any clearer than that!

So what about you? What do you like to read? Any interest in Young Adult?

COMM0014 – Personal Reflection

After analyzing my skillset from beginning to end in this course, it became glaringly obvious that there were some gaps in my abilities to effectively convey a story to an audience. Using my newfound knowledge, I am able to quickly identify my target audience and implement an appropriate communication style that will reach them in the right way. To elaborate, using demographics and psychographics, I can make assumptions about those I am communicating to and will tweak my strategy of conveying message based on my findings.

Image result for psychographics and demographics

Why is storytelling crucial to creating great Digital content?

Whether it be in person, online and numerous other mechanisms of storytelling, you are always trying to sell people on an idea and have to implement the right strategy in order to get them interested. When approaching a story in person, there are many factors that differ compared to digital content. You can see peoples reaction, make judgement based on these findings, and therefore create your story based on what works. With digital content, you are making an assumption about those who you are telling a story to and have much less to work with. Often with digital content you must be overly cautious of the things you say in order to not offend any group you are trying to reach. For example, when creating great digital content that on the political spectrum, it is much to do prior research and analysis to determine if your target audience leans more left or right. Through this research, you can then tailor a story that will appeal to the group you are reaching and do not risk offending as many people. The creation of great content takes lots of trial and error but is certainly possible with the right amount of effort.

Image result for target audience


How will your content be guided by story?

Content is guided by story no matter what approach you take. Think about companies who are selling a product and provide a backstory or use a tag such as “Established in 1942.” These are all part of telling the story in order to intrigue consumers into buying something you are selling. Whether it is a social media outlet, a business, a Facebook group, or any sort of digital platform, you ability to succeed and stand out from others depends on your ability to tell a story effectively. Look at Twitter as an example. Everyone has the same amount of characters per tweet to convey a message and get people interested in what they are selling. However, we can see that some people are able to thrive on this platform while others have issues with the restrictive threshold of words. I always despise the posts with 10+ “tweets”, assuming that I will ever take the time to read through all of them to understand a message they’re putting forward. I believe the restrictive nature of Twitter is one of the best aspects of the platform given it forces people to tell their story in a a very brief manner. Those who thrive are always the ones who grab their target audience’s attention quickly and get to their point immediately.

Image result for twitter character count

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

After rambling on about people who do not tell stories quickly enough, I realized that I am already over the word count, so I will keep this brief. The types of stories I will tell depend entirely on the audience at hand and the message I am trying to convey. One of the most crucial parts of thriving online is adaptability and I believe that this is a skill we are always working on. Hopefully with more practice I am able to pinpoint my skillsets with online storytelling and will learn to cut down on unnecessary words. For now, I am simply trying to learn more about myself and tell my stories thus far on experiences I’ve had over my short lifetime. This course has been fantastic for self-introspection and I believe I learned a lot about who I am as a storyteller throughout it.

COM0014 – Blog #3: Targeting the Audience with Cadillac

Let’s jump right into business. Targeting people to purchase a vehicle can be tough at times, but it’s successful when you pick and choose the right ones. I’m going to give you a brief inside scoop of how we target certain people for particular campaigns.

At my job where I work as a Marketing Coordinator for a car dealership, we outsource our ad creations and targeting to another company. At the end of each month, we receive a report on how well the ads did, who we targeted the ads to, and if any leads were created from those ads. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to make up an example of how we would target a Cadillac customer. 

cadillac classic car

Here’s what Cadillacs used to look like… but this style is no more! (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Demographics

Cadillac isn’t your Grandpa’s boat-sized sedan anymore. Cadillacs have now been rebranded, and are considered luxury vehicles where Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, sunroofs, and all-wheel drive, plus more, come in a lot of the base vehicles. When advertising to people, we use language that will turn heads and capture attention.

When looking for Cadillac customers that we want to steer into our dealership, we use our outsourced ad agency to target them through Facebook or Instagram. The demographics could be as follows: middle-aged men or women; unmarried people as some of the vehicles are coupes that would not comfortably accommodate a family of four or more; people with a post-secondary education.

XT5 Crossover Sunroof

Interior of a Cadillac XT5 (Image from Cadillac.com)

Psychographics

In addition to income and age, we want to know what the customers are looking for. We usually target people based on what they have expressed an interest in, or if they have clicked one of our Cadillac ads before and possibly submitted a lead.

The psychographics we could look for are people in white collar jobs with a disposable income, and also people in middle to upper class as most new base Cadillac sedans or coupes start at the $50,000 range. We would also want to know what car they are currently driving as this can give us an indication of what they might be interested in. For instance, if they are driving a new Honda Civic but expressed an interest in Cadillac, then maybe a Cadillac ATS or CTS would suit their style. As a company, we might also present our lease offers to show that shopping for a luxury vehicle can also be an affordable and realistic purchase.

CTS-V Sedan Taking a Turn

2018 Cadillac CTS-V (Image from Cadillac.com)

Cadillacs Are Cool Now

Cadillacs are now cool luxury vehicles with tech savvy equipment and stylish interiors and exteriors. Cadillac has retargeted their audience to suit their new brand. Here’s an interesting article on how Cadillac has now upped its game in the luxury vehicle world in comparison to recent years: https://bloom.bg/2xMHz95

COM0014 Blog 3 Target Audiences

Communicating effectively with your audience/customers is the cornerstone of any social media strategy; and working with diverse groups adds an additional layer of challenges to it. My company’s largest product line is Personality Dimensions – a personally assessment tool.  It is available in four languages, and is sold widely in international markets outside of Canada including: Hong Kong, Australia, and the USA.  When my company began development with the product, extensive cultural research was undertaken to make it as universally appealing as possible.  Having access to this research has made it easier for me understand our target demographics.

While there are geographic and cultural differences amongst our target demographics, there are a number of similarities between them.  Clients mostly work in social and human services, i.e. career development, HR management, family services, etc.  There is a fairly even split in age demographics, a little under half are baby-boomers, also a little under half are generation X.  This group is increasing in size, and moving into higher positions as the former are retiring.  There is also a growing trend of millennials entering as front-line workers.  About 85% of these groups combined are female, which does pose some challenges for me.  The group as a whole is widely educated, having at least a two-year college degree, and many have bachelor’s degrees as well. In Canada, Australia, and the USA, English is the most widely spoken, however other languages have a significant presence. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is most widely spoken, however most of our clients also speak English.

Maintaining a blog on Personality Dimensions has been instrumental in reaching out to the younger demographics in our client group.  I am able to reach out to different communities by posting on a variety of topics, feature guest bloggers, and get feedback through surveys.

In many communities, the advice of leaders and respected influencers does more than any kind of advertising can.  My biggest challenge now is how to reach out to these individuals to get an “endorsement.” Please comment below if you have gone down this road, and share how well it worked for you.

COM0014 Blog #7: Let Your Audience Guide You!

I’ve learned a lot in this course about story-telling; in fact everything from the Inverted Triangle Approach to researching target audiences has taught me something about writing online. But the most interesting lesson has been discovering that story-telling does have a place when creating good digital content; if used effectively and concisely.

To do this means not starting from the beginning and working to the end leaving the most important message for last, expecting your audience to hold their interest up to that point but taking into consideration that they will have limit attention spans so say what you want first and foremost weaving your message into a story-telling approach.

You may be asking “Why” this is important?

Well with everything you must consider your target audience. In fact taking them into consideration first can help you as the writer determine the best way to tell your story so that it is well received. After all, these are the people we write for and so in order to capture their interest it makes perfect sense to appeal to them.

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Twitter screenshot, where I’m working to tuning into what’s being said and find what’s most relevant!

Learning this it has helped me evaluate my own writing and zero in on my own approach to blogging. I’ve started thinking about what I really want them to know and how best to communicate that so the message reaches them clearly. Through using social media I am also listening in to help me select blog topics more carefully. Considering not just what interests me but tuning into what my audience is talking about and getting ideas from there has helped guide my writing and given me some good insight into what’s most relevant and therefore could be most helpful to them.

Which overall this course has made me a better blogger and careful listener.

 

Who Am I?

Personal Branding Within Social Media

Personal branding within social media is an essential yet confusing term.  It can be defined as “[t]he ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding.  It has become as ubiquitous as social media itself and some of the most famous celebrity for the sake of celebrity’s have mastered this – simply think of the Kardashians (@KimKardashian or @khloekardashian).  Others have used it so effectively it has created whole new careers for them.  A perfect example of this is Donald Trump.  Before social media hit its stride he used his name to develop a real estate brand that spoke of luxury and expense.  Trump’s personal twitter feed @realDonaldTrump is now used to further define his personal beliefs while simultaneously promoting them as the beliefs or aims of the entire United States of America as he frequently uses the same tweets from his official Twitter account @POTUS.   One could argue that without his Twitter feed he would not have gained the popularity he did in the two year run up the US election last November.

The confusion for me lies with where to separate the personal from the professional.  With so much choice for virtually everything now and with relying less and less on personal interaction it seems that personal branding has taken the place of customer service.  I am happy with that when I am shopping, but if I am trying to sell a service (recruitment) through a professional Facebook page how much personal information should I be using?  I know I’m certainly not comfortable with displaying too much of my personal appearance like the Kardashians, or the political like Donald Trump!  Surely though, there is a happy middle ground where I can show through social media that I am a real human but this is my workplace and therefore a dress code of privacy must apply.

Perhaps the answer to this middle ground of personal branding lies in the aim.  There are numerous individuals who have used personal branding to create a career that is essentially personal branding, or beauty vlogging to give it it’s official name.  The three most popular in the United States in 2015 according to Pixability were Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Carli Bybel who had followers standing at 8, 833, 779; 10, 339, 824; and 5, 303, 898 respectively (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_Youtubers). After developing huge followers that pre-social media would be unimaginable these individuals are using their own personal branding to contribute to the success of big companies while the big companies are able to adapt personal branding to their corporate branding.  This has become a completely symbiotic and hugely successful relationship.

          

I will continue to struggle with the issue of personal branding whenever I post on my work Facebook or Twitter accounts – I don’t worry about crossing any boundaries but rather being so impersonal so as to not have an impact!  Nonetheless it is clear that personal branding is essential and to be successful using social media one must adapt.

Continue reading

COM0014 – Blog #3 – Social Media Audiences

I presently work as a contractor at the Department of National Defence producing videos for the department’s social media outlets, and other online platforms. When developing or editing a video I always need to keep the audience in mind.


Here is what of the videos I have worked on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUSfxxpE5CE

When developing a story line I always have to keep the audience in mind, even though it is quite broad. I need to target Canadian Armed Forces members, their families, potential recruits, CAF retirees and anyone with an interest in the military. What I do when thinking of my audience I think of which portion of my audience would most appreciate the story that I am molding.


Watch this video before continuing to read:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZVyMpyjZKk&index=8&list=PL55Fcekr-FU0gE5D0_HK9g7zaKgKWDEPe

When editing this video, I had a specific audience in mind, I was thinking of parents, young adults or anyone who has helped someone that is ill. I wanted to pull at the audience’s heart strings and so started off with the challenge: Zak had cancer that had taken over 75% of his body.

For other videos such as the Cpl Reyda story above, the audience was more specifically people with a dream, in this case it was a dream to fly, however this could be for anyone with a dream career who has struggled on the way to their goal.

How do you target your audience?

Hey, I’m talking to you! Post -3

I have been working my direct sales business for the last few years. I deal with cooking products and home based cooking “shows” and demonstrations.  Now that I have children, I would like to be able to translate my in-person success to my online presence. That means working on finding my target audience.

Now technically I have products that cater to the needs of everyone who eats. A little broad if you ask. My products are for the home cook but with a high quality. I deal with the home baker, the grill master, the single or college student who does microwave cooking, the healthy diet person, the retired person looking to downsize, and my most common person is the mom who needs to make their life easier.

Looking at what I have been posting on social media and what has been giving me success are images or videos that demonstrate ways to make healthy and easy meals, in no time.

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Grilled Chili Lime Chicken fajitas salad!

This speaks to the busy mom mostly. My business is marketing strongly on the family aspect and sitting and sharing a meal around the table.  So that means that as a company they are looking for families who hosts events or cooks with their children. The purchasers are mostly female, 20+ with some form is disposable income or the mothers of these.

As it stands, it appears that using Facebook videos (live especially) that focus on recipes or products, has the most engagement or have actually translated into sales.  I have also had mild success on Instagram with imagery. I would love to increase my audience to encompass more. Practice makes progress!

Targeting Photographers and Models

Flash Designs Studio has five target audiences: photographers, models, stock agencies, people wanting family portraits and businesses wanting event photos. FDS has targeted the first two in marketing efforts so far, so let’s focus on them. These photographers and models are in Ottawa, ethnically diverse and artistic, visual people.

Most photographers who attend workshops and Meetups enjoy photography as a hobby, while some use it as a retirement business (local key players lead these sessions, as FDS soon will). As photography can be expensive, most in this target audience have post-secondary education, established careers and good salaries with disposable incomes. Most are open to sharing their images and insights, as seen at clubs and Meetups and on Facebook and online forums like PhotoNEWS, Photo Life, Outdoor Photography Canada and Canadian Geographic’s photo club (national key players).

While most photographers are men, models are young women who are in post-secondary school or just starting their careers and have modest incomes. An effective strategy has been doing “time-for-print” shoots; the only payment for models and FDS is to build each other’s portfolio.

According to Facebook Insights, 64% of people reached are female and 45% are ages 35 to 54. According to Google Analytics, 54% of FlashDesignsStudio.com visitors are male and 61% are ages 18 to 44. While 95% of Facebook visitors are Canadian, 43% of website visitors are Canadian and 24% are British (some of the more active Twitter photographers).

FDS does not have enough Twitter nor Instagram followers to generate statistics. These platforms and blogs are not as popular as Facebook with these target audiences. Instagram’s former square format and Twitter’s former text-only format may have deterred these groups. Advertising saturates Twitter feeds, possibly further deterring use. Because of this, FDS focuses more attention on Facebook than any other platform.