Defining your Target Audience
One important step in developing effective analytical models, reports or presentations is defining and understanding your target audience. This crucial step is often overlooked or undervalued because it seems unnecessary; however, it will ensure your project culminates in relevant and useful results. It allows you to strategically alter your decisions for the best interests of your audience.
Who is your target audience?
A target audience is the intended recipient(s) of your project. It is who you will persuade or inform. Depending on your project goals, it may be:A business stakeholder Customers of your business A business department A legal entity or regulator
Your target audience may be a combination of these entities, or it may even be yourself. Whatever the case, identifying the target audience is the first step, but you should not stop there.
What are they familiar with?
You will also need to consider which presentation type(s) your target audience is familiar with. Do they enjoy reading thorough analytical reports, or do they like to see the information in presentations? Should you provide numbers and statistics, or will a data visualization be more informative? Are they more interested in asking questions or finding answers? You can learn more about presentations at the Brody Professional Development blog.
Another critical component is acknowledging how familiar your target audience is with the data. If they regularly work with the data or directly contribute to data acquisition, you may want to exclude familiar data from your presentations. Contrastingly, if your audience is not familiar with the data, you will need to provide a baseline to define context. You’ll also need to adjust the amount of detail depending on the technical level of your target audience, but always be wary of providing redundant details.
Use your audience’s familiarities to make deliberate decisions to increase the effectiveness of your project or presentation. When deciding on presentation methods, you may want to align with their familiarities for transferring information, or you could catch their attention by choosing a unique approach. You should determine project content by the audience’s familiarity with the data, and their overall expectations.
What are their expectations?
You should consider your target audience expectations as early as possible. For an analyst, you’ll need to identify what they want to know about the data, and more importantly, what will they do with this information. Align your data analysis and presentation to these expectations. In fact, try to exceed these expectations by providing more action steps or preparing for questions in advance.
Your audience will also have expectations on the results you share. Be aware of what results your target audience will find “uninteresting”. Some audiences are curious about data exploration and validation, whereas other will fall asleep learning about these steps. Be sure to meet their expectations, but do not omit critical details because they are not interesting.
As you can see, defining and understanding your target audience is an important step in your presentations and projects. With this information, you can tailor your work to their familiarities and expectations. You will also find it easier to make project decisions and meet your business goals.
Are you clearly defining and addressing your target audience’s familiarities and expectations? Let us know in the comments sections below!