Beyond Personas: Understanding your audience so well, it’s like you read their mind.

What’s the difference between knowing your audience, and understanding them?

January 3, 2021 / Marjoram

If you’re like us, you’re now spending most of your working hours at home. During this time of home-based social distancing, you might be running into your neighbors a bit more than usual. If you know your neighbor, you can quickly summarize the most basic information about them if asked: name, profession, marital status, number of kids, and so on. All very top-level data. Every time you see each other, it’s a cursory hello, followed by superficial conversations, ending with a quick goodbye. If you continue that same level of accidental engagement, your relationship might never advance. This is what we call knowing your audience. You’ve identified them and know basic information about them. You use this information during brief moments of engagement, but the shallowness of it only allows you to keep the interactions at a certain level. 

If you want to evolve your relationship and build rapport, then you’ll have to put in some effort into understanding your neighbor and their lives. You’ll have to pay more attention to their daily activities so you can create more than just superficial encounters. Maybe you can befriend on social media or invite them over for coffee enabling you to learn more about them. Small gestures like these eventually lead to longer driveway conversations, impromptu social invitations, and perhaps even request for advice during certain situations. The goal is that by increasing your knowledge of them, you can analyze behaviors and predict patterns. Truly allowing you to understand how and why they make certain decisions. You won’t need to read their minds; you’ll just have in-depth knowledge about who they are and what makes them tick. 

Regardless of scale, this concept applies to knowing and understanding your marketing audience. If you only know your audience’s top-level details, you may have a few polite conversations here and there, but your engagement with them will never grow. Once you actually understand your audience, you can begin to interpret the reasoning behind their choices, the rhythm behind their routines—and understanding why they do what they do just increases your ability to create interactions that are more meaningful. Marketing efforts with messaging that apply directly to them will have them wondering if you read their mind.   

If you invest the time to move from basic to insightful data gathering and build corresponding rich profiles around the results, you’ll move beyond a casual hello. You’ll be able to develop marketing strategies that engage true potential targets. And what better way to communicate with your future clients than with content based on real understanding? 

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