I was inspired to write an audience-centered piece by this Fast Company article. To summarize, when sales associates of high-end luxury retailers (i.e. Louis Vuitton) acted snobby, the desire for consumers to purchase a product increased.
Interestingly, rudeness did not have the same effect for mass-marketed brands such as H&M. Why? Advertising executive Andrew Saks works with clients in the affluent market and states that “Most consumers have a list of things they would like to purchase. However, affluent consumers are more interested in deeper and more meaningful experiences in their interactions with the products and services they buy.”
Arguably, the snobbery, “in group” behavior around a product means it’s more exclusive. This is appealing to luxury consumers, while mass-market consumers want to feel accepted and comfortable while shopping, not left out.
What does this mean to me?
The study above exemplifies the vital necessity that an organization must know their audience. If you own a Gap and tell your employees to be rude to customers based on this study, that would be a huge mistake; Gap’s target audience is not high-end luxury consumers.
It’s not just for consumer marketing, I recently saw a stand-up comedy show and the jokes that fell flat were geared to a different audience than the people in attendance. If you’re trying to sell a product, get a laugh or build a relationship (PR), then you must know your audience.
How do I find and reach my audience?
Research. There’s no way around this step. Find out who your audience is, their needs, fears, problems – it’s crucial to both identify and understand your target. This will allow you to choose the best way to reach them, whether it’s through advertisements, social media or an event.
Key takeaway: Know yourself and know your audience. This is the first step to being a great stand-up comedian or owner of a Gap.