Things That Matter

 Severn Valley Railway

“It doesn’t matter who they are, it’s where they are, what they are searching for and who they trust that matters”

An event at MMU last week saw David Edmundson-Bird,  Principal Lecturer and Course Leader in Digital Marketing at MMU Business School making the very bold statement that Demographics are Dead.

Forget age and demographic profile, it’s all about targeting behaviour, location and attitudes.  We should be building campaigns around what people do and when they do it, whilst appealing to their cultural values and lifestyle. Here are three take-aways from David’s lecture:

1.  Target Behaviour

Targeting online behaviour, for instance, the choice of words typed into Google, reveals intent. It determines whether one is browsing, researching or ready to buy.  It’s a pretty clear intent for example what someone Googling ‘spa break’ is looking for.  The idea that we might want to target AB1 women with disposable income is outdated.

Hike + Bike

If you have time on your hands at the weekend, you will identify who you are by your search e.g. ‘Family days out’, ‘art classes for adults’.  Search has effectively decommissioned the demographic research.  Or has it?  Do we still need to profile our customers so that we can create the right products and experiences and how to target them?

According to David, this too is old school.  Building your product and service portfolio based on what people are actually searching for is the new greatest opportunity the digital realm.

2.  Location

Where will customers be when they might need our product? What time of day?  Weekend, evenings, mid-week?  Spring/autumn?  The context of the need and the opportunity is of vital importance, whether standing outside a shop on the high street or searching online at home. Understanding where your audience will be and when they might need your product or service is the most effective and target-worthy.


3.  Psychographics

This is the really interesting one for us because it concerns values, attitudes, opinions, beliefs, interests and lifestyles. This is how we profile our target audiences in our PR planning.  Understanding the cultural influences that effect buying decisions will impact on where you need to be seen/heard/discussed and where you can be found.

Understanding where audiences place their trust and have their values reinforced is key here and in our opinion, why PR is more powerful than ever in influencing messaging, attitudes and behaviour in the first place; because where do people go for news and views that reflect their own?  The media.  Whether its the BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail or Daily Mash, we all source our content and materials and most will curate this to reflect who they are and the image they want to show the world.

Thanks to David for the lecture and insights, which have been interpreted through a PR disciplined mind.   At Fido we use an audience planning system that identifies audiences and their trusted sources and plan PR campaigns that influence and engage in the digital world.