Just when you thought you could turn off the political talk, even an integrated marketing and multimedia production company blog jumps back into the fray. Don’t worry, I know politics don’t make for good table talk. Today I want to underline 5 lessons I learned about addressing your target audience from the events leading up to the election, the day itself, and the results since.
NOTICE: This is not a political thread. This is an examination of the nature of the recent political season. Please refrain from political discourse in the comment section.
Target Audience: Content vs Delivery
You know the old adage “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? The kind of bravado and swagger that gets attention is not content. That kind of confidence is a powerful style of delivery, as is humility. Thus, it all depends on the context you want the content to be heard. The way the message is shared must not be neglected.
Speak deliberately and methodically to your target audience. They’re counting on YOU to be the ringleader. The package conveys a message as much as the words themselves.
This is probably the biggest takeaway from the election for me. I would fluctuate between annoyed and disgusted when I watched political ads. “These people had no shame!” “These ads just spent the whole time shaming their opponent!” Over and over and over and over and… How could this be a strategy that fits being a representative of the public? Well, it turns out it’s not actually about “feel-good PR” at that point – it’s about being relentless with a single message.
Day in and day out, the ads from each side were consistent. The support of other organizations reinforced elements of both sides’ arguments. The candidates themselves painted a very stark reality. There was no ignoring what was being said – because it just kept being said! The lesson here is not to beat a dead horse to get your point across. The lesson is that a repetitive, unabashed message is difficult to ignore. Use this strategy for your own good – but use at your own risk.
Be Brutally Clear
If the ads represented an opinion, they did their job.
This runs hand-in-hand with being relentless. Regardless of a person’s political leanings, we all have opinions. Sometimes ads like these would agree with our opinion, sometimes they would disagree. However, if the ads represented an opinion, they did their job.
The things that were being said appeared unfiltered and unbridled. The messages were clear, bold, and posed a question – do you agree or disagree? This brings me to my next point…
Positioning Breeds Engagement
Make a strong, firm point and watch the comments come in. If your point resonates with your audience, positively or negatively, engagement will ensue. Be forthright about a point to give ample room for both agreement and criticism. Both of these are critical ways to engage your viewers. Donald Trump gained extensive traction through his detractors – people who spoke at length about their distaste for him. His supporters fed off the heat, and the Trump train gained steam right along. By contrast, although Hillary Clinton was also wildly unpopular amongst her own detractors, her supporters had different reasons for supporting her. This unclear reasoning did not contribute as much to her own odds of winning.
Relearn your audience
You can never know enough about the folks you’re trying to reach. The moment you think you’ve figured them all out, it may be time to ask all over again. Listen to their feedback. Check your analytics. What are you saying (and at what time) when you have the most engagement? What about the least engagement? Even clear and effective messaging needs to meet your audience where they are. Learn and relearn who they are and how they consume their media.
Every candidate wants to win more voters, much as every brand seeks more followers and consumers. What insights have you gathered recently about reaching your target audience? Go ahead and share your experience below!
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