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How Marketers Get Inside the Heads of Their Intended Audience

Marketers can measure the success of marketing campaigns and the strategy behind their campaigns by assessing if they reached their intended audience or not. How do they find this data? Simple qualitative metrics can determine how an audience engaged with a product or service at a particular time. But how can individuals of an intended audience effectively be reached? What methods do marketers use that are successful at this?

According to Sharon Ceurvorst, marketers and communicators influence the perception of those in their audience by utilizing tools she calls “mental models.” Mental models can be used to represent how various beliefs and associations interact to create a perception. Mental models have three components. Ceurvorst names them as drivers, associations and inputs (see examples below).

Drivers – the conceptual building blocks of perceptions (like how “diet” and “exercise” could drive your perception of health)

Associations – how the drivers relate to each other and to the perception (for example, the relative importance of “diet” and “exercise” to health), and

Inputs – the concrete beliefs and facts that flow through the model (such as weighing 165 lbs)

But why influence someone’s perception? What drives a consumer to purchase a product or service is dependent on what they value—price, brand, efficiency, convenience, etc? These “drivers” are what a marketer can hone into and use to create predictions on how the product or service can fare in the market against the competition. An example of how a marketer utilizes a driver is the strategic alternative strategy (Pardhan). A company puts out a product that does not appear to be a high quality product or sit in an acceptable price range at the same time another product of theirs that is similar to the prior product but offers more to the customer is put out. The latter product compared to the first product is more attractive to a consumer, and hence will be purchased more.

Another tool marketers use are personas. Personas are hypothetical archetypes of actual customers or users defined to a significant right and precision, and can be developed by companies to help solve the aforementioned problem for all parties involved in the customer life cycle. In other words, personas are a crucial component of successful marketing and sales departments. Personas offer marketers a way to take a single individual in an audience and use the data retrieved from them for the entire audience. To find out more about personas and to see examples of them, read the following whitepaper.

What we can derive from countless studies is that marketers need to understand and connect with their intended audience in order to create an effective marketing strategy. After all, how can we sell to the world if we don’t know what they want?


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