I had the opportunity to attend SES Chicago this year. In my humble view, the presentations ranged from very basic stuff, validation of some more commonly accepted practices, and a few little nuggets of exceptional information.
While I wrote down several key takeaways from the conference, I’d like to share one that, if not the most important, certainly rang very true to me. It came from a presentation put on by the Orabrush guys:
Be your target demographic.
And while the relative difficulty of “being” your target demographic will depend greatly upon the difference between who your target demographic is and who you are (i.e. if you’re a 60 year old male lawyer and for some reason your target demographic is 14 year old girls it’s going to be nearly impossible to “be” your demographic), you’d better at least REALLY understand your target demographic.
And to me, while market research, surveys, data, etc. can be helpful in understanding some things about your target demographic, they are not a substitute for actual interaction, engagement, and conversation with actual people who make up your demographic.
You see, people, and even groups of people, are too nuanced to really understand at a fundamental level through answers to surveys.
And when it comes to developing a professional reputation online, you have to understand very specifically who your target demographics are, and how they use the internet. And to really be able to do this effectively, you really have to “be your demographic.”
You have to see what sites they go to. You have to see what social tools they use. How do they receive and manage emails? Where and how do they consumer information and news online?
Only then can you truly realize the effectiveness and efficiency of the web for your business.