Background InformationCommunication Methods and Your Audience Presentation Notes NOTE: Customize the following information for the presentation. Bullet-pointed information is provided in this order in the PowerPoint slides. Understanding your target audience’s needs and characteristics are essential to getting your message across effectively. This lesson focuses on helping you determine how to appropriately communicate your message, based on your audience’s characteristics. Overview Why would you want to describe the audience for which you are developing messages? Suppose you are someday the executive director of an agricultural commodity association in your state. You decide it would be a good idea to put together an awareness campaign to educate members of the public about the contributions of agriculture to the state’s economy and quality of life. Before you can even begin to think about the message, you have to decide whom to target. What are some potential audiences? The general public? Community leaders? State legislators? Members of the media? Urban, suburban, or rural? Old or young? The answers to each of these questions will lead you in a different direction when it comes to deciding what to put in your message. As you begin the process of analyzing your audience, consider these questions: Who are the audience members? What are their educational backgrounds and experiences? What do they know about my subject? What do they expect of my communication? How can they best be reached? What do they need and value? These questions help you start the audience analysis, as you identify more characteristics of your target audience. These audience characteristics are divided into two categories: demographics and psychographics. Demographics can be thought of as characteristics about audience members which are hard to change, such as gender, age, income, education level, and place of residence. Psychographics combine the attitudes and values people have with their lifestyle choices. Attitudes are a combination of the beliefs and perceptions used to evaluate something, such as what a person thinks about a particular product or the opinion a person has about something. Lifestyles are how people like to live. For example, you and your parents may like to live in a particular area, in a particular kind of house, and may engage in specific recreational activities. These lifestyle choices are shared with others, and they may influence your attitudes and perceptions. Over time, researchers and marketing communicators have developed numerous categories that help describe how beliefs, lifestyles, and experiences help determine a person’s outlook on life and how people might respond to messages that are communicated to them. If you can identify audience members’ demographics and psychographics, you can make assumptions about how best to develop a persuasive message targeted to them. You may wish to use an audience analysis matrix to help you identify key characteristics about your audience and then how to develop a message for that audience. EXPLAIN AUDIENCE ANALYSIS MATRIX HERE. Provide handout to students. Discuss demographic and psychographic characteristics of audiences. Audience Analysis Matrix is provided as a separate handout. Audience Analysis Matrix Demographics Gender (male female) Age Education level (high school, college, graduate/professional degree) Ethnicity Geographic location (where you live—urban, suburban, rural) Psychographics Values and beliefs (in general and in relation to the topic you are communicating) Attitudes (specific perceptions and/or misperceptions about the topic of your communication) Lifestyles (interests and activities shared by your audience that may influence their attitudes toward your topic) Information sources and channels What sources of information does your audience access to learn about your topic What deliver channels does your audience use to get information Prior knowledge and experience What do audience members already know about your topic In general, how informed are they Have they had previous experiences that may be related to your topic QUESTIONS: Who is an audience you would target a message to? What are characteristics of your target audience? What about agricultural audiences? What are their characteristics? How do they get information? Ecuador Ecuadorians are migrating away from rural areas and into cities. One way that agricultural communicators are reaching out to urbanites is by showing them how they can stay connected with plants. In major newspapers, articles are being run that show how to grow certain plants, and there are plant seeds attached to the newspaper, itself. In rural areas, though, communicators have to consider their audience’s characteristics, such as how they access information. In this video, we will see how the administrator of one university’s outreach program in a rural area has to consider the audience in getting information out about how to promote the program. ESPOL is a public nonprofit institute of higher education, focusing on academic, scientific, and technical areas of instruction and research. ESPOL identifies community leaders, visits these leaders who then are to promote the program to people in the community. This can be seen as an example of the Two-Step Flow of Communication (going through an opinion leader [step 1] to reach your intended audience [step 2]). Opinion leaders depend on their personal characteristics, such as socioeconomic One aspect of psychographics relates to values and beliefs. In the small town of Salinas in the highlands of Ecuador, residents are dealing with different communication methods that are impacting their cultural values, especially values of younger and older generations. In this short video, we will hear from a representative of ESPOL about how the university communicates to rural audiences, and we’ll also hear about the cultural values and communication affecting Salinas. This information is provided by Father Antonio, one of the original two Italian priests who helped Salinas grow economically over the past 30 years. Major highlights from the video: ESPOL representatives meet three weeks in advance of an outreach course with community leaders. The diploma for the course provides an incentive for the attendees. Farmers in rural areas do not have access to information technology. ESPOL uses radio to get out word about the courses, in addition to face to face. Residents of Salinas is struggling with trying to communicate with young and older generations and maintaining traditional values.