A Handy Way for Ad Agencies to Segment Audiences

Audiences are not always who you think. When I was in graduate school, I learned a handy way to identify audiences so that you don’t miss anyone, and an effective way to segment them:

Enabling links – publics that set policies or goals and may control assets.
• Board of directors
• Government regulators
• Congress

Functional links – audiences with a direct link between the services the organization performs and the product(s) it produces.
• Employees
• Suppliers
• Users of products/services

Diffused links – individual members of a public who do not belong to a formal organization but share a common interest.
• Community residents
• Minorities
• News Media
• Environmentalists
• Voters

Normative links – publics that share the organization’s goals and values.
• Religious associations
• Professional societies
• Competitors

Diffused links can quickly fuse by organizing to take action (over a common problem or opportunity) and can cause major headaches for you and your organization. Examples:
• Unions
• Coalitions
• Environmental groups

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

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