The Only 4 Details You Can And Must Know About Your Audience

Source: Stencil

For five minutes each morning, between 7:30 and 8:00, my heart races from anxiety. After an eight-lane toll booth, cars and trucks merge into two lanes. It requires careful attention, skill and composure to navigate the free-for-all.

There always seems to be one jerk who makes it worse. I don’t know if it’s the same guy or if they rotate.

You know who I’m talking about. He’s the guy that pounces on his horn. He does it not to warn another driver of an impending accident. He does it out of frustration. Nor is it a polite short beep. He presses on the horn for a good six or seven seconds — as if that will somehow trigger the vehicles in front of him to pull off to the side of the road.

Today, the driver blared his horn at one specific person.

Me.

Why? Because I let another car cut in front of me.

That one extra car adds a half second to his commute time. There is no logic in his horn happy outburst, just unbridled frustration.

Understanding Motivation

This is where I like to guess the aggressor’s motivation. Maybe he has a short fuse and tiny, trivial things set him off.

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s suppose one big stress event pushed him over the edge. His boss could have said be in the office by 8 AM or don’t bother showing up at all.

Or, it could be a combination of low stress events that triggered his outburst.

He got into an argument with his spouse before he left.
He left without eating breakfast.
A stressful meeting popped up on his calendar for later in the day.

Can You Ever Know Your Audience?

Of course, I will never know. Gaining that kind of insight into someone is rare. Heck, I struggle to figure out what sets me off.

When dealing with an audience, even a tight-knit audience, you never gain that level of insight.

In writing, we address an audience. We write to one person but we reach a group of people.

Your audience represents a range of mental states. Some feel depressed, angry or sad. Some waltz through the day with a big smile. Most will claim nothing out of the ordinary.

None of that matters. You can’t control it. You have no hope of knowing the thoughts swirling around in the mind of your reader.

The Truth About Market Research

Here is what you can learn that matters. Gathering this information, especially in business, helps you target your message.

Traits — Are these computer geeks? Do they share a love of design? Do they take knitting classes on weekends?

Demographics — Are they all millennials living in the northeast? Maybe they’re wealthy retirees living in Florida.

Worldview — Perhaps the most important of the three. 
How do they see the world? What are their core beliefs? Are they intent on protecting the environment, even at the expense of their comfort? Are they steadfast on non-interference from the government on social issues?

What Do They Seek And How Will They Get It? — Here are two examples:
Higher status within their network. They will get it by getting a better job.
They seek freedom. They will get it by building a freelancing business.

Find all of the similarities, group them together and create that one individual. That’s the one you write to each day.

Before You Go…

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