Knowing your target audience is a basic rule of marketing. For all the new technologies that sprout up each day, this fundamental remains true. But can new technologies unlock aspects about your target audience, and how can the healthcare industry in particular use this data practically?
In this post, I will show you two techniques for discovering your target audience (along with metrics to back it up) and I will also show you two free resources to get started. (If you are new to demographics or social media, be extra sure to read to the bottom.)
To do all of this, let’s take one audience subset as an example: female caregivers. We assume the Mom set is online, but where are they? Do they use social media tools? What influence do these individuals have online and in the doctor’s office that make them unique?
Two Techniques For Finding Answers
- Research: Staying current with breaking research is one way to figure this all out. For this example, we know that women spend more time on social networks building and nurturing relationships (Rapleaf) and that 53% of the “critics” – your potential consumers on message boards and blogs – tell their friends about products that interest them (Forrester Research).We also know from the social technographics from Forrester Research that 19% of the population are critics – meaning that they are leaving reviews on Amazon.com or posting comments on other people’s blogs. These are the same ladies who are discussing your brand in various social forums and on healthcare and family blogs online.
- Customer Listening: The second method for answering our initial questions is customer listening. (We like to call it “online intelligence” at Siren.) For one client, we “listened” to the forums, blogs, message boards, and other social media platforms regarding their disease state and therapy. This exercise reached a number of goals, including:
- Isolated key opinion leaders and potential brand advocates
- Quantified the priorities and concerns of their patients
- Illuminated patients’ knowledge base and brand identification
- Isolated the behaviors of important decision makers, such as parents and healthcare professionals
There are also less tangible ways customer listening can help clients. For instance, it is possible to find and fix problems before they become PR nightmares.
Now our client knows exactly the make-up of the target audience, where they gather online, what they think about particular therapies, who sways opinion in these groups, which groups affect brand decisions, and why this audience is essential to growing their business.
Where To Start
First, Forrester Research offers a free social technographics tool. You can segment the data by age, country, gender, and see all six of their groups (including the critics I mentioned above).
Second, if you are new to social media, Chris Brogan offers 50 ways your business might use social media to improve your marketing. Many of these involved some sort of customer listening.
I hope this blog post helped explain how you would use research and customer listening to better understand your audience. There is a lot of information out there and even more conversation. You will only become a better marketer by harnessing it.
Research is important, but customer listening is key. After all, if you’re not listening, you’re not learning.
(Image courtesy of viZZZual.com via Flickr)
- 04 December 2008 at 1:12am
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