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  • Emily

Understanding our audience in health sector marketing

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

Selling a product or service is all about behaviour change – you want your audience to stop doing what they are doing, and instead switch to your offering! Understanding your audience helps you to develop compelling marketing messages that elicit that all-important behaviour change.

What drives behaviour?

Motivators are the accelerator of behaviour and barriers are the brakes. Both can be equally important to an individual and both can be equally difficult to understand at times! While often deeply personal, common themes usually exist across an audience group – identifying these is the first step for understanding behaviour. To elicit behaviour change though, you then need to understand why those motivators and barriers exist – which attitudes and beliefs have shaped them?

Attitudes and beliefs can be formed in response to factors external to the individual themselves or from within. All too often, these (sometimes very strong!) beliefs are based on a lack of understanding, misunderstanding or misperceptions - presenting opportunities for marketeers/advertisers to gently re-educate. A common base factor for behaviour is fear; being able to successfully alleviate fear is a powerful sales tool. That power comes with risks though and addressing it in a marketing or advertising context requires very careful handling. This is further complicated by the fact that fear is frequently masked as something else by people.

How can behaviour be changed?

This is where insight is key – understanding the why of behaviour. What that person knows (or doesn’t know!), their pressures, their previous experiences and how they feel are all important to help paint a picture as to why they do the things that they do.

Product features and benefits are great, but how they actually change a person’s life - this is the button that needs to be pressed in marketing or advertising campaign messaging… Your target audience needs to read it and think “That’s relevant to me. It will benefit me!”. This is what good insight provides.

It doesn’t take much of a misstep to alienate audiences though, so good insight must have both depth and breadth. Nuances can make or break a campaign, so investing wisely in insight is important. Get it right though, and the value is huge. Humans have a surprising capacity to ‘put themselves out’ if the end benefit justifies the means. With the right framing, you can make some pretty big asks of people and successfully see them follow through. That’s true marketing power!

Want to know more? Read our blog post ‘The importance of insight

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