PR Campaign planning – How to choose the right audience

After developing several different campaigns during the PR course, I have learned that one of the most important considerations you must do is when you decide the audiences for your client. Even though the client may already have a different target audience, there is no harm in giving another suggestion if you are considering this as a more appropriate.

First of all, what do you think about when you hear audience? Related to a PR campaign, there are many terms that all represent different parts of your client’s interests. The words that are being used are:

  • Target audience: This is the aimed audience, the people you want to reach
  • Consumer: This is the end users
  • Market: This is the certain type of people you are aiming for
  • Stakeholders: These are the people who have an interest in you
  • Publics – specific term: These are the people who have an interest in the company
  • General publics: Everybody (This is not a normal term when doing campaigns)
  • Population: A particular section, group, or type of people living in an area or country (Not that usual in campaigns either)

According to our teacher in the Campaigns module, Jon Cope, “publics” is mostly used as a general PR term, while PR practitioners mostly use the term “audience”.

When creating your own “picture” of the target audience for a campaign, it is important to think about demographic (age, sex, status), geographic (urban, suburban, countryside), psychographic (lifestyle, values, personality), behavioural (knowledge, response to product/service) and sociographic (personal needs, -profile, -attitude) insights. This will help you get a clearer perception of what type of people you are targeting, and how they correlate to the reason behind the campaign.

Last, but not least, you may have different types within the target audience. We have the primary audience, which are the people you are primarily developing the campaign for. In addition, you could have a secondary audience, which could also be a group of people you are aiming to target. Furthermore, we have the influencers, which are considered to be the opinion formers or though leaders, such as celebrities, family members, friends, trendsetters etc. This can basically be anyone who you are certain that will make a positive affect on the target audience by being included in the campaign strategy.

One rule that is necessary to remember before starting, you must understand and learn the brand/organisation before you take upon deciding the target audience. There is no fun in turning up to pitch for Converse and trying to convince them that grannies are the new target audience for their latest collection!

I hope you will find this information useful. In relation to campaign planning, I will come back with other helpful tips in future post.

– Maria


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