It’s great to understand your audience and the personas of your target market. It’s equally important to know how these audiences interact and make sure that an agenda to engage one group does not alienate another target group. As marketing campaigns are planned, it’s important to identify which channels might cross audiences and ensure that the messaging to one audience is not counterproductive to another.
Marketing is often looked at as a means of generating leads or sales, and for the most part that covers it. Every so often, however, marketing is consulted on other business facets like recruiting. Recently a CEO of a client launched a presence on LinkedIn via the marketing department to support an HR agenda to attract millennials to the company. This agenda was initiated because there was a number of technology openings within the company that HR felt millennials would be better suited to perform.
So the CEO launched several LinkedIn posts about how valuable millennials could be to a company and why he thought it was critical to current companies’ future to bring them on board. The LinkedIn posts garnered some interest and HR was pleased to see an increase in application for their open technology positions.
To further promote the CEO’s presence on LinkedIn, an internal communication was sent asking employees to follow the CEO’s posts. Many of the employees did so and were greeted with the CEOs recent posts. The problem was that many of the employees were not millennials and felt the articles were dismissive of the contributions other generations could and had made to the company.
Marketing had to deal with comments on LinkedIn from current employees that felt marginalized .HR had to do damage control for current employees that took exception to the content. To further diminish the productivity of the campaign, the CEO had no plans of continually doing posts so the original three articles became an obvious self-serving attempt at boosting recruiting rather than a valuable commentary on business development. The lack of ongoing quality content for the targeted audience meant that followers dwindled or disappeared.
While this example has as much to do with HR as it does with marketing, it’s a great example of how marketing agendas can backfire when channels cause them to cross audiences. This is especially true for web content or social media posts which make the content available to anyone who finds it. Even channels like email that make it possible to restrict access to a target group still have cross audience capabilities via forwards and replies.
It’s best to review any marketing campaigns from the perspective of your unique audiences. If you find that particular communications are dismissive or alienating to a different target audience, it’s worth restructuring the campaign to be more inclusive.