Audience rules

DATE: May 4th, 2011

So Canada has voted…. What an amazing tribute to marketing and the ¬†power of the customer. Until the last few days, the polls and analysts predicted pretty much the same old, same old.

Then the people spoke.

Well, you know the outcome. As I watched, I wondered if the campaign strategists had done their homework. Why didn’t they know that the mood of the people had changed? What was Quebec saying? And what moved to align Toronto and Calgary?

The election teaches marketers a very serious lesson. Don’t assume you understand your audience. Taking a defensive stand, hoping that the same old will work, is not an astute plan. Running a campaign from history doesn’t work… we need to understand our audience.

You know when the marketing team understands their audience. If you are a buyer, you will resonate with them. At the very least, you will recognize the people who personify the audience.

The bigger challenge comes when you see the possibilities of change in the audience. Take the liberal party. Decimated in just one day, they are looking for a new leader, a young leader, a leader who understands the heart beat of young voters.

But will they be able to make that work?

It’s always a risk.

While we understand that marketing provides the face and the position for the organization, without a solid strategy or platform, a young face cannot turn the party around.

Many years ago a tuna company launched a cool new, pre-mixed tuna sandwich spread. It was everything the customer wanted, quick, easy and cost effective.

Except for one thing. It tasted horrible.

The ad campaign went as planned. The company sold hundreds of thousands of cans of the product. But, in the end the product crashed because no one bought it again.

As we spend time, money and energy on developing campaigns for our customers, let’s use what we learned from the election:

1. The audience rules.

2. Make sure your product is what the audience wants — they will turn away if disappointed.

Leave a Reply