All three can be conducive to brainstorming ideas because both suggest how a specific audience might behave, what they might participate or engage with, what they are attracted to, how they choose to spend their time, either personally or professionally. More importantly, without this audience information, brainstorms are rarely effective because it’s impossible to connect the ideas to the audience, and vice versa.
Demographics Social or vial statistics about a specific audience such as age, gender, university education, family status, financial worth, income, geography (like their postal or zip code). While demographics are helpful to initially define the group, shouldn’t rely upon them solely. You also need to define the audience by how they act, which is the point of …
Psychographics Statistical data which defines an audience’s general attitudes, behaviors, decisions and opinions. In other words, psychographics define ‘lifestyle choices,’ or describe how people feel or act.
Values Perhaps the most significant way to understand audience is to know their values, or deeply rooted principles or standards which are universally accepted among the target audience and explicitly guide what they believe and their attitude toward a specific topic, and ultimately how they behave. You can find a list of universal values here.
Spend as much time, energy and money to get as much accurate and relevant information as possible in advance of your brainstorm. If you work alone, or are in a team or organisation without regular access to statistical information, try one of these suggestions:
- If your organisation produces any type of research, it’s very likely they have some basic information about your key audiences.
- If your organisation produces advertising, it’s very likely the ad agency – or similar external consultant – will have this information.
- There are a number of online tools which gather data about audiences, but check their gathering processes to ensure you’re getting something valid. Or, you can use websites like SurveyMonkey.com to create your own surveys to gather relevant information. (Type “create web surveys” in a search engine and you’ll find 10-15 different options.)
- You can also get quality information about the target audience the old-fashioned way: talk to them. In fact, when was the last time you actually spent time talking with the audience you’re trying to reach?
Here’s an example of a full audience profile that we created for a wine company.
Example: Bruce & Sheila: Wine Drinkers in Australia
- Between 35-44 years-of-age
- Equal male/female
- Caucasian (93%)
- Married (84%)
- Household Incomes $65K-$150K (63%)
- Managerial or professionals
- Graduate degrees (39%)
- Own residence (62%)
- One or more child (73%)
- ‘Aspirers’ – people who aspire to more than they have now, who see themselves as a step above the mainstream
- Good opinion of self; seeks to improve self
- Amiable, benevolent, self-assured, gracious, sophisticated and creative
- Class/status conscious
- Somewhat experimental
- Loves going to favorite restaurants, venues, pubs
- Active in social activities, kids’ activities
- Enjoys eating foreign food and trying new food products
- Enjoys entertaining at home by the BBQ
- Believes worth paying extra for quality
- Usually buys wine by brand name, but not above shopping by price
- Accomplishment The wine I serve says everything about me
- Belonging and Acceptance: I want to be seen as knowledgeable, so I can impress my friends