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We Are Not Our Target Audience

January 19, 2011 by Scot Gallup

Several years ago, I worked for a mid-sized national corporation overseeing their web presence. During my time there I had the opportunity to be on the client side, working with a major ad agency in developing a new design for our corporate website. The agency produced a design concept that really resonated with those on staff, including management. If was a beautiful design that we were sure would be perfect in reaching our web visitors. A few thousand dollars later, we had our new site and proudly launched it.

We invited our strongest, most loyal customers to comment on the new design. Their response shocked us. They actually ‘hated’ the new design! They thought the new design failed to convey the sense of vitality and hope, which first attracted them to us, and made us stand-apart from our competitors.

In response, we then spent even more money making quick design changes, attempting to patch-in those missing qualities of our brand. Within a year, we completed another complete redesign but this time, we made sure to involve our most loyal customers into the design process.

We learned a valuable –if not humble--marketing lesson: “We Are Not Our Target Audience.” That phase was often repeated many times in future marketing meetings as a sober reminder that all our marketing efforts must focus on the wants and needs of the people we intend to reach, and that we can’t always rely on basing our decisions on what we think they want versus what they really do want. As a side note, this corporation has gone on to receive recognition as a top marketing innovator within their industry.

“We Are Not Our Target Audience.” Whether you’re a client of a designer, the sooner we learn this humbling truth, the closer we’ll get to creating a website that provides a compelling and engaging online experience for the end user, and one that generates great results.

Let’s say it together…”We Are Not Our Target Audience.”

Posted in From the Design Team

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