Should Marketers learn to think in terms of ‘Followers’ instead of ‘Target Audiences’ ?

I have always felt there was something not right in talking about Target Audiences when developing a (marketing) communications strategy in my early working years. Why? Because it made people in organisations behave superior over people outside the organisation. Expressions like ‘ah, but they – customers, investors, citizens, – do not understand’ are often heard in meetings. Like ‘us’ against ‘them’. Not very nice, actually.

In today’s world, where huge populations have 24hrs access to news and information through the Internet, facing cultural, climate, economic and health complexities as something that is right at their doorstep and no longer as something that is far away in a strange world, an inclusive marketing approach with emotional drivers is better placed. Just like with Social Media, audiences will naturally and consciously follow the developments of a company and its activities if they feel part of a common story. Here, marketers will connect not only with people & markets they decided to like, but also to people with a genuine and more engaged interest in their business: people they would never reach with traditional marketing thoughts.

So, rest us the question: Can marketers change their behaviour with new thought patterns that make their marketing story an inclusive one, within 48 hours? Yes they can!

In some of my workshops, I give the following exercise as homework:

1. Take your favourite book or film, best a roman or detective

2. Identify the script elements such as the protagonist, the hook, the plot and other contextual information like other characters, place(s) and time(s)

3. Check use and effect of metaphors

4. Now, knowing about the key story elements, make in your thoughts your own product story

5. And finally, integrate this story into your marketing approach

Tip 1: You’d better exaggerate in emotions than stay too close to corporate speak

Tip 2: When you have difficulties to start writing: put on the dishwasher, start writing and don’t stop until the dishwasher does. Do this every evening until you are satisfied with the story.

Enjoy & Good Luck!