BREAKING THROUGH: GETTING YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR AUDIENCE
In almost all cases, the key is understanding what your target audience wants to hear. And surprisingly, breaking through the "wall of noise" may be easier than you think.
While consumers are being bombarded with an endless flow of information, search engines and other technologies also have made it possible for them to tune into messages they want and filter out ones they don't. Pair this with traditional market research and you'll soon get a clear picture of what moves and motivates your target – and what it takes to help your message stand out.
This issue of Perspectives looks at various ways of breaking through to target audiences. One highlight is a novel concept called "messaging through memes." The idea behind it is that marketers can hit a PR home run by associating their brands with topics that consumers already are talking about in online conversations – rather than adding yet new story lines to all of the noise that's out there. This approach takes authenticity to a new level because consumers will accept a brand's presence in their conversations if there is a natural fit.
In that spirit, our "Voices of Influence" section opens with an authentic discussion that focuses on consumers as the ultimate voice of influence. In a conversation moderated by Perspectives using instant messaging, three new-media strategists from Ketchum's Interactive Strategies Group discuss "messaging through memes." The conversation reflects the way everyday people communicate online and was edited only for length.
In "Viewpoints," Ketchum's new-media strategist Gur Tsabar lays out how search marketing can help deliver targeted PR messages – another way the Internet has made it possible for messages to break through (provided, of course, you know how to leverage it). In a look at how brands can stand out by associating with consumers' interest in sports, Ann Wool, head of Ketchum Sports Network and Ketchum Entertainment Marketing, answers a few questions about "breaking through" at the Olympic Games in Beijing. In a companion article, Bob Page of Lenovo, the official technology provider of the Beijing Olympics and a Ketchum client, talks about the benefits of his company's sponsorship. And Joanne Puckett, a Ketchum research director, looks at how research can and should be used to evaluate communication programs' effectiveness in reaching their targets.
"Viewpoints" also features a more traditional look at a timely target audience: value shoppers. This summer, consumer trends research firm Iconoculture issued a point of view about four types of consumers who are tightening their purse strings this year. As concerns about the economy mount, most companies with a product or service to sell will be considering value-conscious shoppers. In a Q&A and with excerpts from the research firm's own article, Iconoculture consumer strategist Tim Henderson provides a closer look at this target.
Finally, "Street Smarts" wraps up the issue with some key stats on a widely sought-after consumer demographic: U.S. Hispanics.
Just to the right of this letter, you'll find links to our latest poll as well as the results of the poll on expectations of corporations and CEOs. Our polls are designed to help us understand the communication challenges of our readers, and they provide an opportunity for you to compare your organization with others. Please take a few minutes to answer the four questions.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Perspectives and that you will let me know what you think. E-mail me at email@example.com.