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Knowing your Audience can Prevent your Next Marketing Crisis

Knowing your Audience can Prevent your Next Marketing Crisis Blog Feature

July 20th, 2013 min read

Knowing your Audience can Prevent your Next Marketing CrisisMy question to you is ... how do you prevent your next marketing crisis from happening?

All to often, marketing crisis' happen on social media. It's one of the biggest platforms, for connecting with your audience.

Don't forget to look out for your email marketing, marketing automation, and design. A marketing crisis could be lurking in the shadows.

They happen when you least expect it.  Just a few wrong moves can prove disastrous for your company.

One of the biggest fears marketing managers have is losing control during a marketing crisis. To keep your company out of the danger zone, it's important to know your audience.

Ways to Prevent your Next Marketing Crisis

One of the main goals for marketers is to help businesses stand out among their competition. With an audience that is always plugged in, the focus is on how to get their attention and keep it.

As hard as a company works to get likes, followers, readers, and some form  of engagement there are moments when we wish we didn't have it.

When we fall down we suddenly hope no one noticed.  Except they noticed.

They also took a video and shared it with their friends, who shared it with their friends, causing a huge domino effect at our expense.

Maybe I'm being dramatic, but it has happened to some brands. Whoever said "All press is good press" got it wrong. Accidents happen. Companies take risks that backfire. Minimizing your risk by knowing your audience can help prevent future embarrassment or even a full on marketing crisis.

1. Know your Buyer Personas

Understanding buyer personas is key to a successful marketing strategy.

If you have developed strong buyer personas then you know who your audience is. The demographics of your audience can give you insight into their opinions.

By engaging your audience in a way that is meaningful to them you will win their loyalty. When you've established yourself as a trustworthy thought leader, when you stumble it won't hurt as much. Loyal fans will stand by you.

However, there are certain things that you just shouldn't talk about. For starters; religion and politics. Unless it is firmly aligned with your brand (like a bill that would affect your industry) don't take the risk. This is especially important if your statements may not sit right with your target audience.

2. Social Media

For most marketers, social media is one of the strongest assets used to promote a brand. It's also a place where things can really go wrong.

Social media serves as a 24 hour news channel. When something interesting happens it spreads, for better or worse. Some things are quickly forgotten, some things last. There are a few things that brands do wrong with social media that you need to avoid.

Ignoring or Deleting Comments

Ignoring negative comments doesn't make them go away.

Deleting them doesn't make them unseen.

In fact, if your brand is known for doing that, be aware that people can take screen shots of the comment before you delete it. You cannot always hope that no one saw it. Deleting the comment actually makes you look even worse.

You can also learn a lot from negative comments you are getting via social media. If you think you are awesome, but there's a way people think you could be more awesome, don't you want to know about it? Social isn't just a place for your audience to get to know you, it's a place where you get to know your audience. The more you find out about your audience, the more you will understand what your audience expects from you.

Not considering audience opinion is what got McDonald's in trouble with their #McDStories crisis. They believed the stories about their brand would be supportive, but opened themselves up for a stream of negativity. They probably expected happy stories about kids getting happy meals on their birthday. The reality is a burger you paid 99 cents for isn't going to stick in your memory forever unless something went wrong.

Signing in on the Wrong Account

Anyone who is managing a social media account is responsible for representing their brand.

Accidents happen when people think they are posting a status on their own page but post as their brand page instead. This is more common than you might think. Taking an extra second to double check before hitting publish can avoid a major issue.

If an issue does happen social media is a great platform to apologize and be a transparent as possible with your fans. An honest explanation and apology can go along way.

There are a lot of pros to the shift to a two-way communication system. However, it does take away a lot of the control that companies once had over the perception of their brand. The rise in smartphone usage means people don't even have to be at a computer to see what is happening online.

Increased awareness and monitoring by brands needs to become a priority to avoid mistakes instead of attempting to neutralize them after the fact.

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