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					     fe ature: le anne dow ning

                                                                                                                                                                  and consumer habits of any given
                                                                                                                                                                population group.
                                                                                                                                                                 However, for today’s social

     are you
                                                                                                                                                           marketers, the situation couldn’t be
                                                                                                                                                        more different. Over the past 20 years,
                                                                                                                                                       spiralling discrepancies in income,

     talking to?
                                                                                                                                                       education and social mobility have
                                                                                                                                                       combined with significant increases in
                                                                                                                                                       multiculturalism to make the idea of
                                                                                                                                                       addressing expansive population sectors
                                                                                                                                                       such as ‘men’, ‘teenagers’ or ‘the working
                                                                                                                                                       class’ seem hopelessly optimistic and
     Health marketing                                                                                                                                  naive. As many social marketers now
     messages need to                                                                                                                                  attest, what’s required is a complete
                                                                                                                                                       re-evaluation of how health promoters
     target more than just                                                                                                                             envision their target markets.
     broad demographics                                                                                                                                    Appreciating the diversity at work within
                                                                                                                                                       traditional demographic sectors is an
     to succeed.
                                                                                                  IlluStrAtIon: Guy Shield, the Slattery Media Group

                                                                                                                                                       important part of this re-evaluation process.

                                                                                                                                                       As Ross Honeywill, author of Neo Power:
                 ommunicating health messages                                                                                                          how the new economic order is changing
                 to the masses has always                                                                                                              the way we live, work and play, advocates,
                 required a strong understanding                                                                                                       addressing Australia’s diverse cultural
                 of where people are at socially,                                                                                                      landscape via broad demographic segments
                 economically and politically.                                                                                                         such as life-stage is a waste of time.
     However, as Australia’s levels of education,                                                                                                          In an article recently published in The
     income and social mobility continue                                                                                                               Age, he argues that across-the-board
     to fragment, today’s health promotion                                                                                                             lifestyle labels such as ‘Generation Y’ are
     professionals are being forced to look                                                                                                            really only useful for one thing; and that’s
     beyond basic demographic categories and                                                                                                           telling us how old someone is: “How
     towards a more sophisticated understanding                                                                                                        can anyone seriously imagine that age
     of what makes their target audience ‘tick’.                                                                                                       alone determines our values, attitudes,
         There was a time in Australia’s not                                                                                                           behaviours and work choices? Take gen Y,
     too distant past when it was possible to        Gen Y includes priests, alcoholics,                                                               which includes all Australians in the 14–28
     identify a target audience through basic        politicians, police officers, musicians,                                                          age group. This group includes priests,
                                                     unemployed, labourers, doctors,
     demographic categories such as gender,          lovers, haters, lesbians, liberals,                                                               alcoholics, politicians, police officers,
     age, education and income. From the             believers, heretics, scientologists, rich,                                                        musicians, unemployed, labourers,
     suburb a person lived in, through to the car    poor, spenders, savers, technophiles                                                              doctors, lovers, haters, lesbians, liberals,
                                                     and technophobes...yet they are all
     they drove and the media they consumed,         simplistically described as teens and
                                                                                                                                                       believers, heretics, scientologists, rich,
     marketers were able to detect a certain level   20-somethings who are techno-savvy,                                                               poor, spenders, savers, technophiles
     of consistency between the beliefs, values      upwardly mobile...and time poor.                                                                  and technophobes...yet they are all

12   vichealth Letter
simplistically described as teens and               clinically relevant health guidelines. The        free-to-air television, Australians now have
20-somethings who are techno-savvy,                 next step is to frame them in a way that          a greater choice in terms of what media
upwardly mobile...and time poor”.1                  can engage the minds and hearts of the            products they consume, and where and
     According to the Roy Morgan Values             target audience,” she says.                       when they choose to consume them. And
Segment analysis (VALS), a broader                      One key strategy behind generating such       with greater choice, comes a greater power
understanding of the Australian population          engagement involves paying close attention        to disregard media messages that don’t
is required if we are to appreciate the             not only to ‘who’ you are talking to, but         immediately fit with their own mindsets.
multiple psychographic factors influencing          also ‘where’ and in what context you are          As findings from the Roy Morgan VALS
the actions and lifestyle choices of specific       communicating with them. This approach was        analysis clearly note: “Today’s audiences
target markets.2 Put simply, instead of only        successfully pioneered in the early 1980s as      are becoming narrower in focus and more
focusing on where a particular section of           part of Australia’s initial HIV/AIDS campaigns.   demanding of targeted information. People
the community lives and how much money              According to Chris Gill, a foundation member      only hear what fits their perception of their
they make, it’s more effective to look              of the Victorian AIDS Council, the deliberate     micro-futures and tune out the hundreds of
towards a holistic understanding of why             placement of safe sex posters and stickers        mass marketing efforts that do not address
individuals behave in particular ways.              in obvious locations (such as the back of         their goals in life.”
     To date, commercial marketing sectors          public toilet doors) went a long way towards          For Newton, negotiating this media
have made regular use of the VALS market            informing homosexually active men of the          fragmentation is a critical part of effective
analysis; however, health promotion                 risks involved in having unprotected sex.         health promotion at the start of the 21st
has been slower on the uptake. In part,             During the mid 1990s in Adelaide, Gill and        century: “Thinking about the issue of media
this comes down to health promotion’s               other health promotion professionals took         clutter, it is critical to consider how many
comparatively small budget, and the need            this understanding one step further by having     messages the recipient is likely to see and
to make every dollar stretch as far as              individual posters customised to match the        hear in an average day,” says Newton. “The
possible. As Christina Pollard from Curtin          look and feel of particular gay venues. “The      goal is to develop a creative idea that will
University explains, “most annual nutrition         evidence was that in Adelaide, people who         attract the attention of a target audience
promotion budgets are significantly less            went to one venue were a bit snooty about         long enough for them to take the message
than the weekly spend of commercial food            people who went to another venue, so rather       on board and store it in their long-term
advertising companies”.                             than create a poster that was appropriate         memory. This is easier said than done.”
     Such financial restrictions are all too        for all venues, we realised it was better to
common within health promotion, and                 actually narrow the focus, so that the poster     Leanne Downing is a post doctoral
contribute to the failure to correctly identify     for the nice respectable pub had a totally        research fellow in the School of Culture and
who the target audience is, and what actually       different look from the one at the grungy, all-   Communication at the University of Melbourne.
motivates them. Typically, the average              night disco down the road,” said Gill.            referenCes
                                                                                                      1. Honeywill, R, 2007 ‘The marketing gens aren’t the genuine
health promotion professional is required               Understanding the role that the media            article’, The Age, 5 September, p. 14.
to take on too many roles at once. All too          plays in the lives of the target market is        2. Roy Morgan Research 1995, Roy Morgan Values Segments,
often the person who is in charge of writing        clearly crucial. From the Internet and Pay           segments.cfm
organisational or community-level policy            TV, through to DVD, radio, magazines and
is also the one who develops the action
plans to promote a specific health topic.
In the quest to reach as many people as
possible, it’s easy to fall back into generalised
assumptions about the target audience being
‘everyone’ or ‘the whole community’.
     What’s more, the communication skills
required for writing policy are vastly
different from the ones required for
persuading people outside a bureaucracy                                                  In the quest to reach
to adopt change. The professional language
of policy-makers holds little currency with
                                                                                            as many people
the person on the street, and does precious                                                 as possible, it’s
little to tie in with their culturally specific                                            easy to fall back
values and mindsets. This sentiment is
clearly echoed by Colin Benjamin, founder
                                                                                           into generalised
of the Roy Morgan VALS project, when he                                                assumptions about the
says, “The question that health promoters                                              target audience being
need to ask themselves is: given my                                                       ‘everyone’ or ‘the
limited resources, how do I make sure
that the language and frame of reference                                                whole community’.
reinforces the ‘AIM’ strategy? That is, does
this initiative address the target audience’s
level of Awareness and Interest and does it
enhance their Motivation to act?”
     For Dr Fiona Newton of Monash
University, addressing the lifestyles and
mindsets of those most likely to be
in need of assistance is an important
starting point. “It’s not enough to produce

                                                                                                                                                      Spring 2008    13

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