The Bottom Line: Who is Your Audience?

January 17, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections
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This crazy mixture of digital natives and digital immigrants has everyone flummoxed. Generations X and Y understand that businesses functioned BI, or Before Internet; Generation Z can’t imagine how that could be possible. Simultaneously, the baby boomer generation is busy trying to catch up with the latest in technology on an almost hourly basis lest they be left behind. That wouldn’t be cool.

Throw into this mix the roles of buyers and sellers. The people with purchasing power are most likely those who know what they need from technology, but many grew up watching Star Trek, so they believe anything is possible. The BI generations believe they understand what the acquisition community wants and try their best to provide it, which sometimes results in real solutions and other times in vaporware … at least right now.

Flip that same buyer-seller coin over, and you find an equal amount of confusion. Organizations offering products and services not only must figure out what the customer wants and but also need to make technical solutions user-friendly enough to be understood by someone who still remembers dial-up as if it was yesterday but is looking for something akin to a transporter.

These circumstances certainly add to today’s acquisition challenges. While buyers look for the silver bullet they aren’t sure exists, companies try to figure out the best way to market their wares.

And technology vendors aren’t the only industry facing this quandary. Publishers in any medium also have been working this issue for some time. Newspapers, magazines and network news continue to be the media of choice for a great number of people. It is an audience that successful media cannot afford to ignore. Concurrently, it isn’t wise to disregard generations X and Y, because they live with the latest capabilities if not in their offices and commands then certainly while at home and on the move. And generation Z not only expects new capabilities today but also wants them fast.

The bottom line is that is that whether you are a buyer or seller, it is important to get to know your audience today more than ever before. It is worth the investment to get it right … or at least as right as you can get it for this proposal or this purchase. For successful solutions to real problems, generalities about providers and customers are no longer enough. And by the way, watch out because generation Z will soon be on its way into the work force.

What is your organization doing to figure out its audience? How much time and how often does your business development or acquisition staff spend developing profiles tailored to the people they would like to work with in the future?
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