Audience is fundamental to content strategy

Knowing your audience profile is fundamental to any content marketing strategy.

One frequent mistake made by content marketers is the creation of content for the wrong audience. You may have a great piece of writing and video, pointed squarely at the average customer and loved by the chief executive and marketing director. Yet it bombs. Why?

It fails because your customers are a varied group of people. They may be 55-year-old men at one end and Snapchat-addicted Millennials at the other. And they buy for different reasons. Target the average person that slots between these two groups and you might be talking to someone who doesn’t exist.


Audience relevance is the biggest metric when it comes to increasing content marketing effectiveness. In a survey, 58 per cent of marketers said it was important. The only surprising thing is that 42 per cent think it’s not.

Objectivity is key. If you reckon you’ve produced a great piece of content, then the first thing to do is step back and consider. Are the design and tone right for your customer or target audience? Remember that you are, probably, not the audience. One size fits all is not necessarily the best way forward.

An example to us all

Audience segmentation has been illustrated well by Dell’s Nurture campaign, which strung together different pieces of content into mini-magazines or documents. The combination of elements was set via an algorithm reflecting the individual customer’s position in the sales funnel.

Another example is Netflix. It’s a stretch to call Orange is the New Black content marketing, but Netflix’s position as a supplier of view-on-demand programming enabled it to break down a few walls. The company’s ability to analyse and distill customer behaviour has allowed it to create bespoke programming. A family may have one account, but within that can appear a number of individual profiles. This allow customers to be targeted according to their likely preferences.

Netflix produced around a dozen different promotional clips for House of Cards. Some featured women more heavily, some older men or different elements of the plot. The hook might look the same, but different fish prefer different bait.

The future

The concept of producing 10 different pieces of content with the same aim might seem overkill. It would be difficult to imagine a Chanel perfume advert working that way, even if it wanted to target husbands and boyfriends at Christmas.

But this is the benefit of content marketing. It is possible to amend and adapt, relatively cheaply, different articles or videos to target consumer groups. It is this flexibility that could prove its greatest strength.