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CAS 100B: Effective Speech (Downing)

Course Guide for CAS 100B

Learning Objectives

After today's class, you will be able to:

  • Understand the value of acknowledging your audience
  • Identify key library resources that will help you locate demographic information on and psychographic characteristics of a target audience

Knowing Your Audience

Knowing how to address the specific interest of a target audience is a key component of persuasion. It allows you to make choices in your appeal that speak directly to their concerns. In product marketing, knowing your audience allows you to maximize your profits.

To illustrate how advertisements target specific audiences, let's analyze the following Old Spice commercial. To whom is it appealing? Consider demographics, such as (but not limited to) age, gender, income, sexuality, lifestyle, etc. Can you make any assumptions about what the audience generally believes and values? Provide examples (e.g., visuals, language, editing, etc.) to support your answers.

Demographic Data and Psychographic Characteristics

It can be a challenge to determine what exactly a target audience wants. These resources can be used to find their demographic information about and psychographic characteristics. 

Simmons Insights, a marketing tool, is a treasure trove demographic data. However, it can be difficult to use. Below is a short video of how to create demographic profiles for companies that may be selling products similar to your own. 

For more complicated searches, please check out the following video from the University of Alabama. 

Industry and Company Information

These resources can help you understand the broad industry (or industries) in which your product exists. They can also provide you the names of companies that sell similar products. Looking at their advertisements may give you a sense of how to market and differentiate yours. 

General Information

Once you find information about your audience and your product, these resources offer stories published in newspapers, magazines, and trade publications. This is useful if you need to situate your audience within a broader context. For example, you might find something about how COVID 19 is changing the way companies market to older audiences.