My work as an external advisor to media organisations, broadcast personality shows, digital services and even non media companies, is all about asking the obvious questions.  This is also known as asking the dumb question.

I recently sat in on a media show review. As the conversation progressed about what went well in the show and what didn’t, it became obvious that a ‘rain crash’ was about to happen.  The moment the feedback touched on the aspects of the show that didn’t work, the room became tense and the show production team tuned out.

There are plenty of reasons why a review meeting can go wrong and that’s for another article.  When asked the question, who is your target audience, there was a long pause. I genuinely think they were surprised to be asked it and probably thought it was a dumb question.

Can it be explain it simply?

The media service concerned has a broad older audience and in a competitive market. The first response was 65 year olds plus, the next was 40 plus. What followed was an animated discussion about the ages, the sex, the type of old or ‘young at heart’ people in their broadcast area. These are smart, competitive media types.

Clearly creating a daily show 3 hours long which needs 15 items of content per day is going to be pretty ‘hit and miss’ if each person in the production team have a different audience profile in their minds.

I’m not a betting man, except occasionally on International Rugby, but if asked, who is your target audience, could the team responsible for producing content on broadcast TV, Radio or your social media sites or your consumer website, answer?

How many could explain it clearly to the new guy? What are the odds that they’d have different views?

If you are responsible for producing editorial or any content, do you know who your target audience is? Saying you think you do is the warning sign to go and find out.

Ask the question.

Next time you are in a product or show review ask the question, “who is the target audience”? Keep asking questions until you get specific information until everyone is clear.  Schedule the first 15 minutes time once a month (in your regular review meetings) to spend time understanding the aspects of what makes your target audience special.

Learn what their interests and passions are. From there, show ideas, product marketing and communications initiatives, will flow easily for creative people.

Whether you are in Music, Entertainment, news and current affairs, whatever the platform, everything is about your audience and consumers of your services.  The data is available, you just need to realise it’s a requirement to grow your business.