How do we start?

Understanding the framework that results in audience understanding follows the well-known path of; identify, monitor, track, reference, segment, and plan. Getting the right data is imperative to using this framework.

In this episode, Paul Kelly talks us through live examples of using the right data in the right way and how to approach ‘audiences first’ methodology in brand building, campaign planning or simply to better understand an audience.



Dr. James Piecowye: Welcome to know your audience, a marketing mini cast that explores how knowing an audience can unlock greater insight. In this episode, Paul further elaborates on the audience first strategy approach and highlights how we can see greater efficiency in terms of reach to an audience, using what he calls the ripple framework.

We’ve talked very philosophically about how we think about the audience and how we think about this, this flywheel and how we think about bringing it all together and making it work. Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. Yeah, how do I actually do this?

Paul Kelly: That is, I think is the; could be, literally the $100 million question; because by doing this audience, first planning audience strategy or wherever, you come from, you might apply those words differently in marketing; it really is about getting greater efficiency to reach an audience in a better way, right?. And we’ve discussed that a lot. And really, we have a really simple way of doing this. It underpins everything that we do, we call it our ‘Ripple’ framework. But basically, what it is, is just a series of steps, anyone can do it, it’s about identifying, so who’s interested in your brand and products, not by searching for your brand or product, eliminate that bias, look for your category, look for the occasion, like take a step back? And not try and, you know, there’s always a challenge to narrow a funnel down to, you know, get a tiny group of audience and who are the super users and no, look at an occasion if it’s a food company, for example.

James: Give us a practical example.

Paul: Well, I think one example we gave in an earlier episode is breakfast. And I think it’s a really strong thing. I think if you’re in a food category, it makes complete sense to rather than look for your food or product or name, to look at an occasion that you’re wanting to sort of being within, or maybe you’re struggling to get some penetration in that occasion. Obviously, you know, there’s certain elements and limits to this, because in a lot of ways, if you’re trying to apply this as a personal care brand, maybe like an extreme example would be deodorant, I’m not necessarily going to stop sharing or talking about deodorant, right? It’s just natural, it’s a personal, very personal thing. But what I can do is I can understand certain drivers. So if I’m, if I’m making an audience for making deodorant for an active audience, so people who are active in, say, running, or you know, I don’t know, just making up stuff here. But if it was within that kind, then understanding who that audience is, is where you look, rather than an occasion. So I’m not necessarily looking for, when someone’s rolling it on or spraying it on, I’m looking for, what are their biggest challenges as an athlete, or starting athlete or something like that, or, if I’m looking at, you know, and then what I can do from that is really start to understand who they are, how they behave, what their personalities like. So you can start to apply different (through artificial intelligence), you can start to apply various personality models. And that enables us to better understand how someone might respond to certain ways of saying things. So ad copy/imagery, how they can be how you can start to use nudges, to start to change that pattern of behavior. So really identifying that audience can come in really different ways, you could be looking really specifically at an audience or something really popular, as a beauty, then you’d be talking about a very specific audience about who’s interested in something. But you can also take that huge, like the deodorant example I gave, you can take a step back and look at an entire set of people and go, Okay, what are they interested in? And what might they be interested in? What do I have to tell them?

And then monitor? So what are they doing? What does the day look like? What type of content do they engage with? Who do they follow? And then start to track. So then look at a topic. And what’s the footprint of that topic? So an example I gave just then about deodorant, like, for instance, about the specific type of athlete or active person or inactive, whatever it is, doesn’t matter. Like, what’s driving people in that topic? What are they interested in? That begins, you know, you can start to then start to say the numbers sort of, you know, starting to fit a picture, right? It’s like painting by numbers almost and filling in the colors. And then once you’ve built that audience, it’s about segmentation. So try and segment what are different people interested in at different times that could be separated by demographic, age, or gender, or, or it could be topics, or it could be people who run versus people who lift weights or something, you know, like in that example.

James: So you could literally, as you’re working through this planning stage, and as you’re looking at this data, you could break it up simultaneously, as you’re talking about for observation purposes, so that you can start to get a sense of things. You could have it broken up in 10 different ways. 

Paul: Yeah, and this is the important thing about not having a preconceived idea when you go into it, because you’ll discover things and that discovery leads you to go. Well, we were totally going to segment this by, by gender within a certain age group. But actually, there’s this group out here on a vast scale, that, first of all, you know, they have the monetary means for our product, they’re underserved, and all that sort of thing. And then you get; what are they interested in, they’re really interested in something a lot different to what I’ve been doing. But there are other competitors, actually, that’s where they’ve gone, that’s their decision. You can unlock these things without actually needing to go out and do specific field research or buy super expensive data sets, from the big, you know, research firms about patterns of buying and all that sort of thing. To segment them you deep dive and you start to get into, well, are they different audiences present? Do I want to separate it by topics by people’s age, by where they, where they live, where they’re from, you know, all that sort of stuff becomes important, and then preferences, so you can then look at a topic and go, Okay, well, what do they prefer? What are they following? Who are they following? What are they talking about? What are they? You know, what’s important to them? What are they sharing? What are the URLs that they what are their news sources, you know, you begin to paint this really big picture, and then that enables you to plan so you get all this data in this big map and start to go, Okay, I’m a human, I’m going to bring my own intelligence and understand this; data, you stop now you’ve done your job. I’ve got these great observations. How, what is the insight? What am I looking at here? And how can I develop a response? Or who needs to respond to this? Is this something where we really aggressively need to cut prices on a promotion? or run a promotion in the store? And you know, really get people to try this stuff first? Because actually trying, it’s gonna be the biggest thing? Or do we need to run? Do we need to build our brand? Because we’re actually totally not present with this particular segment,  and it represents a huge business opportunity? Or are they not using our product properly? Is there something out there that suggests that they’re not doing something right?

This enables them, like media, creative strategy, product, new product development, etc, can all be invested in this process, and it becomes just that those simple six steps identify, monitor track segment preference, and plan. That’s it, that’s all you need to do. Although it sounds very easy, obviously, in the right way of getting that information, to begin with, it really starts to understand it. And the best way that I can talk about this quickly is just understanding that if you look at a creator, you might not necessarily have the access to this information like I might have access to. But by looking at creators, you begin to understand a lot of those six points that I just talked about. And this is where you can start to sort of look at what is that creator doing? What’s the objective of their content? How could I apply what they’re doing to a marketing context, instead of just making content for people to consume? So does it affect how I reach people? Are they doing a really great job at educating people? Like what can I learn from that engagement on a really qualitative, just watching, looking at comments, you know, that sort of stuff can give you a good idea if you don’t have access to this kind of stuff, you know, and then you can start to look at the science of creative selections or like, start to look at different creators and go; Okay, so if I was going to actually work with that person, why would I work with them? What value judgments can I make about how they make the content and what their audience appears to be interested in just from a brief qualitative search, you know, you don’t necessarily need to bring in all the tools on top of that.

And what that enables you to do is really understand Okay, so this is what they’re doing on a broad scale. I need to know a bit more about that. And then you could actually leverage if you’re a marketer, your existing sort of agency relationships, can you try and find out more research, he gives you no more defined briefly just from those observations, as well. So there’s a lot of different dimensions to the audience first.

But you know, if you really want to do it properly, those six steps that I described are the best way to start that

James: The takeaway from this episode is that if we can get the right information on our audience, we can more effectively identify, monitor, track, reference, segment and plan and all of these create better understanding on our part. 

You can get in touch with me across the socials @thejamescast or [email protected] 

Paul: And get in touch with me Paul,  through or otherwise, email me at [email protected]

Thanks for listening.