Know Your Audience

The Single Most Important Trend for 2020.

Photo of Terrie Ard

Terrie Ard

Chief Operating Officer and President

'Tis the season for the forecasts and trend lists for 2020. Every year, there are new trends. We use them at Moore to ensure we’re capitalizing on new and even better ways to serve our clients. This year, as we build our trend list, I am narrowing my focus to what really matters – your audience.

I’ve chosen this single most important trend for 2020 above technology and even data because knowing your audience is that important for marketers. It is the best way to keep your brand relevant and it should evolve over time in how you communicate, reach and engage your audience through the years.

How we’re practicing this year’s trend:

​1. Put Audience Insights First.

Your audience can change over time, which is why getting to know them is timeless. It’s always the first step before sitting down to craft a strategy or create a campaign. Evaluate what you know, or think you know, about your audience:

What do they want, what do they need and what is your role in solving their problems?

Our client Ford is an example of a Fortune 100 brand doing this well. Their trend report for the year revealed loneliness as an epidemic. According to the report, 45% of adults say they regularly feel lonely; 52% say they have the best conversations on long car rides. Data like this can be a vehicle for marketing insights. Is a long car ride the cure for loneliness? We are excited to use these findings in future campaigns.

Audience insights help you connect in a meaningful, authentic way. Brands can no longer afford to put messaging out (i.e., “spray and pray”) that isn’t rooted in a cultural, contextual and/or consumer truth.

D'Arcy Toffolo, Executive Managing Director

2. Connect through Branding.

We are all emotional, intuitive beings who make choices each day based on our connections to brands. Think about the products, services or organizations you like. I am sure a few come to mind. For me, I immediately connect with brands like Apple, Target and Disney. Not only do I like these brands, but my friends and family like them too.

How you connect with your audience – and the people they care about – defines your brand.

One way we bring audience into our branding practice is through brand ambassadors, or influencers. Earlier this year, we talked about how to integrate influencers into your marketing campaigns. It’s no wonder influencer marketing is making so many of the top trend lists again. 80% of marketers find it effective. When someone hears from a person they respect and admire, you can start to earn their trust. This is the oldest and most powerful form of advertising – word of mouth.

A brand is a gut feeling shared by your target audience. Successful brands create lasting, positive relationships with their audience and work constantly to maintain them.

Ashlee Weber, Senior Director of Brand Development ​

3. Get Your Message Right.

Right time, right place, right message. When you know your audience, this trio makes for harmonious campaign execution. Whether you are pitching a news release, sending a brochure or choosing a headline, it should all come back to how your audience consumes content. As they live their lives, look for information, and consider buying, how will you draw them in?

Megaphone marketing that speaks to everyone in the same way won’t do it. Learn what your audience is listening for.

Content marketing works by providing value beyond selling your products or services. A witty post on Twitter or a well-researched article can earn you an attentive audience. You can’t expect to reach your audience if you’re only on one or two channels. A multi-channel approach is a must. The trick is to craft your message well, translate it for your channel, choose a cadence and then test it out.

It’s our job to understand who our client is trying to reach, what that audience wants/needs from the brand and where they will be most receptive to that message.

Jordan Jacobs, Senior Vice President

4. Expand Your Reach with Advocacy.

Advocacy has a unique role in knowing your audience. Effective advocacy activates coalitions, or groups of people acting toward the same goal. Through surveys, stakeholder interviews and focus groups, you can learn why an issue matters to a group. Once you know their “why,” you can broaden awareness and strengthen support around the cause.

Clearly communicate your cause and you might be surprised by the voices that echo back.

Our Founder and CEO, Karen Moore, recently wrote about assembling diverse groups to accomplish shared goals. Activating coalitions around complex issues can be difficult, but the most powerful causes spring from common ground. When you think outside the norm about who might have common interests or expertise, you can start to build momentum and create communities.

Deeply understanding your audience and what matters to them makes you a better advocate for them and their cause.

Liz Shawen, Managing Director

5. Be Authentic to Culture and Values.

Understanding culture helps you connect with your audience authentically. This is where your assumptions should be replaced with time and attention. In the Hispanic population, 62% of adults consider brands that make an effort to appeal to them. Getting to know who lives in their household, how they research and make decisions together will help you speak to their values.

Cultural engagement has to be organic; it can’t be forced. People want to associate with individuals and brands in real life.

At Moore, we empower employees to use their own voices. By creating a culture of partnership, inspiration and focus, we start to share a kind of DNA. Our employees champion our work in social circles with excitement and perspective that we couldn’t dictate for them.

You have to understand your audience’s culture to understand how to connect with them.

Fern Senra, Managing Director

6. Validate What You Know with Data.

Sometimes, we have to go with our gut. Don’t stop there, though. You should use data to confirm (or deny) what you expect to be true. Also use what you’ve learned from past customers, prospects and partners to form a hypothesis about how to better meet their needs. Data will help prove your impact!

If you see that sales are down, it’s a good time to ask if you know your audience well enough, and whether you’re appealing to them with emotion or logic.

A marketer’s job is to turn our knacks and hunches into high-performing campaigns. If an audience isn’t responding, adjust how you’re defining them. If an ad isn’t performing, look to ones that are. Say your hypothesis is that people don’t understand your call-to-action. Try saying it a different way and measure the results.

Analyzing and interpreting data takes a keen eye and an open mind. You may find you have missing pieces. My best advice is to consult the experts, leverage third-party reports and use data like a scientist. Have a hypothesis, then observe. Most importantly, be open to surprises along the way.

We’d Like to Get to Know You.

Knowing your audience is a timeless trend that touches every area of integrated marketing. It’s not setting it and forgetting it. It’s about listening to what your audience cares about and being nimble to respond. If it sounds like a continuous cycle, it is.

This trend could easily make the list every year. But at the turn of this new decade, with audiences’ shortened attention spans down from 12 to just 8 seconds, you have to know them now more than ever. Want help crafting the right strategy to captivate your target audience?

Contact us about your goals for 2020 and let’s take aim!