Who do you think you’re talking to?

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Before we can begin to help our enterprise clients with their positioning and messaging, there’s a fundamental and deceptively simple question to answer: “Who is your audience?”

Often, when we ask this question during initial meetings, we’re met with a variety of responses within seconds:

“Our customers,”

“Prospects,”

“Channel partners,”

“The Street,”

“Employees.”

Each response is correct, and each is important. Companies must communicate with many different audiences, and each may need to hear or know different things about the same company. For example, current customers may find it most valuable to know that the company is continually innovating new products. Prospects may find product longevity and quality more important. Channel partners may want to hear about commitment to sales enablement. The Street needs a sense of stability and growth. Employees require a primer on who the company is and what it stands for on a fundamental level.

It’s a lot of messages. But everybody doesn’t need (or want) to be told everything. So how do you get the right information to the right people? With segmentation and targeting.

First, define your audience(s). Identify as many as you can. Who are they? What do they care about? What kind of information are they looking for, and where do they typically look for it?

Next, prioritize your audience(s). Which one, two or three are most important to reach first? This will depend upon factors including your brand strategy, sales goals, growth plans, and marketing budget.

Then, research your audience(s). Learn everything you can about their challenges, their perceptions, and what drives their behaviors and decisions. The object is to know enough to empathize with their need for the information you can provide.

Finally, map your messages to each audience type. What makes your company uniquely well suited to a prospective customer might not be what makes it uniquely well suited to a reseller or investor or job applicant.

Equipped with a messaging strategy that lets you quickly address any curiosity, confusion, or objection—by audience—will do more than differentiate you as a brand; it will increase the efficiency of processes ranging from product marketing and channel management to staff onboarding and investor relations. Everybody’s listening for something different. Speak their language.

 

 

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