The Proprietary Audience Imperative
My guest on this episode is Jeff Rohrs, author of the amazing book: AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers, as well as head of ExactTarget’s Marketing Insights Team. This episode is going to challenge the way you think about your target audience. In the show notes below, you’ll get a high level summary of our conversation.
You Don’t Own Your Audience
When Jeff speaks to audiences about the subject of audience, he begins with a reminder that marketers should use paid, owned and earned content to not only sell in the moment, but to build a proprietary audience for the long term – as an asset. Those brands with a loyal proprietary audience depend less on paid media.
The ability of the consumer to look up anything on a mobile device provides the opportunity for brands to ask permission to engage with them in various channels. The brands that embrace multiple channels are at an advantage over competitors that don’t. When proprietary audience development is baked into the DNA of an organization, it can reach its audience more readily and is not as dependent on paid media.
When trying to build subscribers, fans and followers, remember that you don’t own them. They can unsubscribe at any time. You need to constantly earn their attention. The communication to your proprietary audience needs a content strategy.
Seekers, Amplifiers and Joiners
A seeker is someone looking for information, but you can’t easily reach them. Seekers find your content in their quest to stay knowledgeable on a topic, whether the content they discovered from you is paid, earned or owned. Ultimately, you want to capture seekers’ loyalty and convert them into a joiner….A joiner relationship is one who wants the utility of your product delivered through a channel they prefer. It can be a customer. We want to get to know joiners by collecting more information about them. We may want them as followers and fans in social media so they may also become amplifiers. The amplifier is someone who embraces your message willingly and shares it. Amplifiers are an audience with an audience. They have a bit of an ego. They want to help others and get compensated through social proof.
All Brands Are Media Companies…Or, They Should Be
Media companies have a department called audience development. All brands should think this way. People who work in PR and social media are the ones who need to converge and work together to build a brand’s proprietary audience.
Proprietary Audience Development – PAD – is about developing audience that reduces a brand’s dependency on paid media to engage with your brand to buy more. The strategy begins with an understanding of where your audience spends time so you don’t waste time in places where they are not.
The PAD imperative requires a team. The question to examine is how to structure and build a team that can build proprietary audience. These people must truly understand the concept of audience development. Form a brain trust of people across functional departments who can come together to collaborate as a team to build a proprietary audience.
The process to build proprietary audience is very similar for small, midsize and large companies. However, the way it scales is different based on size and available resources.
B2C and B2B Proprietary Audience Development is somewhat different. In B2B there is a more emotional connection because people who are evaluating a product need to make a decision that has potential to advance their career, or conversely get the person fired for making a bad decision. Trust building is very important in building a B2B audience. Building a community has become very important. Peers in a community can ask each other questions and help each other. Purchase intent goes up with loyal community members.
A recent report from ShareThis shows that online content, such as recommendations shared between friends, now influences consumer purchases more than price and brand, carries nearly as much weight as in-person recommendations and can motivate buyers to spend 9.5% more for a product.
Key take aways from my podcast interview with Jeff Rohrs:
- PAD should be viewed as asset building.
- We’re all now audience builders in marketing!
- PAD is a new marketing responsibility.
- The vocation of audience development is here.
If you think this 700 word article captured my entire interview with Jeff Rohrs, think again. I invite you to listen to the entire conversation on the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher if you’re mobile. You’ll be glad you did.