Defining your target groups
Brainstorming on potential target groups
- Write down all potential practitioner target groups that spontaneously come to your mind.
- Start with practitioners that already use your type of research results. You can also note names of specific persons.
- What groups are not using your results as often or as thoroughly as you would like?
- What groups are discouraged or prevented from integrating your results in their activities by a common barrier that you can help them overcome?
- Which target groups know and trust you?
- Take a look at what you have brainstormed so far and think of which other practitioners might have the same problems, needs, goals, etc. Add them to your list.
- The list obtained through brainstorming should be as comprehensive as possible and will help you to expand your understanding of potential traget groups.
Identifying the target groups you want to address
- Cluster similar groups of practitioners together into types of practitioners. The most important characteristics for grouping are typically their goals, attitudes, and behaviours. What is the common problem, common question, common interest, common knowledge, common passion of each target group? Clustering according to formal characteristics such as job branche, marital status or type of organisation is not necessarily helpful for designing your communication activities.
- Do any of these groups have „something‟ in common that will help you reach them? E.g. patterns of behaviour, attitudes towards a problem, places they visit or meet etc.
- What groups would be most receptive to uptaking your research results? Who is open for new ideas and willing to change habits?
- What group would benefit most from the research results?
- At what stage in life, job, purchasing cycle, exposure to others affected by the problem, or other critical times might people be most receptive to using your research results?
- Decide which target group is most important to you. Depending on your ressources you can select more than one group in your target group identification.
- Make a prioritized list of your selected target groups. Target groups should be prioritized relative to your communication goals.
Analysing your selected target groups in-depth
- Now you need to analyse your selected target groups. Each target group needs a separate, specific analysis. Whenever possible, base your thinking about your target group on facts, not on assumptions.
- First find out what exactly it is that you need to know about each target group in order to communicate your research results? In many situations, demographic and psychographic differences are not very helpful in predicting who will or will not be receptive to your communication. In such cases it is better to address the target group based on other factors (such as problem awareness, motivations, attitudes, expectations, barriers, prior knowledge, preferred communication channels). Did parts of the target group change relevant habits in the past and why?
- Choose your method of target group analysis according to what you want to find out. E.g. do you need a representative survey or are you searching for in-depth qualitative information through interviews with representatives of your target group? Consider that what your target group says is not always what it actually does. If you need information on actual behaviour a field study is necessary to analyse your target group.
- How many persons does each target group comprise approximately? How do you reach your target group? Do you have contact data? Where could you get contact data from?
- Take another look at your prioritized list of target groups. Do the results of the in-depth analysis change the order of the target groups?
Describing your target groups
- Create now a description for every target group you have selected. The insights of your analysis will help you to add details to each type of practitioner especially regarding their goals, behaviours, and attitudes. What is the significance of your research result for that target group? What are their motivations, priorities and characteristics? Are the target beneficiaries likely to realize the significance or do they need specific assistance or training to understand the benefits for them?
- You can make the target group description more realistic by adding a fictional name, photo, demographic information, scenarios and more. (See examples of target group descriptions)
- Include your target group description in your communication strategy.
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