Situational Audience Analysis

Situational audience analysis considers the physical surroundings and setting of a speech. It’s always a good idea to visit the place you will be speaking ahead of time so you will know what to expect. If you expect to have a lectern and arrive to find only a table at the front of the room, that little difference could end up increasing your anxiety and diminishing your speaking effectiveness. I have traveled to many different universities, conference facilities, and organizations to speak, and I always ask my host to show me the room I will be speaking in. I take note of the seating arrangement, the presence of technology and its compatibility with what I plan on using, the layout of the room including windows and doors, and anything else that’s relevant to my speech. Knowing your physical setting ahead of time allows you to alter the physical setting, when possible, or alter your message or speaking strategies if needed. Sometimes I open or close blinds, move seats around, plug my computer in to make sure it works, or even practice some or all of my presentation. I have also revised a speech to be more interactive and informal when I realized I would speak in a lounge rather than a classroom or lecture hall.

“Getting Real”

Marketing Careers and Audience Segmentation

Advertisers and marketers use sophisticated people and programs to ensure that their message is targeted to particular audiences. These people are often called marketing specialists.Career Cruising, “Marketing Specialist,” Career Cruising: Explore Careers, accessed January 24, 2012, They research products and trends in markets and consumer behaviors and may work for advertising agencies, marketing firms, consulting firms, or other types of agencies or businesses. The pay range is varied, from $35,000 to $166,000 a year for most, and good communication, creativity, and analytic thinking skills are a must. If you stop to think about it, we are all targeted based on our demographics, psychographics, and life situations. Whereas advertisers used to engage in more mass marketing, to undifferentiated receivers, the categories are now much more refined and the target audiences more defined. We only need to look at the recent increase in marketing toward “tweens” or the eight-to-twelve age group. Although this group was once lumped in with younger kids or older teens, they are now targeted because they have “more of their own money to spend and more influence over familial decisions than ever before.”David L. Siegel, Timothy J. Coffey, and Gregory Livingston, The Great Tween Buying Machine (Chicago, IL: Dearborn Trade, 2004).

Whether it’s Red Bull aggressively marketing to the college-aged group or gyms marketing to single, working, young adults, much thought and effort goes into crafting a message with a particular receiver in mind. Some companies even create an “ideal customer,” going as far as to name the person, create a psychological and behavioral profile for them, and talk about them as if they were real during message development.Michael R. Solomon, Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being, 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006), 10–11.

Facebook has also revolutionized targeted marketing, which has led to some controversy and backlash.Daisy Greenwell, “You Might Not ‘Like’ Facebook So Much after Reading This…” The Times (London), sec. T2, January 13, 2012, 4–5. The “Like” button on Facebook that was introduced in 2010 is now popping up on news sites, company pages, and other websites. When you click the “Like” button, you are providing important information about your consumer behaviors that can then be fed into complicated algorithms that also incorporate demographic and psychographic data pulled from your Facebook profile and even information from your friends. All this is in an effort to more directly market to you, which became easier in January of 2012 when Facebook started allowing targeted advertisements to go directly into users’ “newsfeeds.”

Markets are obviously segmented based on demographics like gender and age, but here are some other categories and examples of market segments: geography (region, city size, climate), lifestyle (couch potato, economical/frugal, outdoorsy, status seeker), family life cycle (bachelors, newlyweds, full nesters, empty nesters), and perceived benefit of use (convenience, durability, value for the money, social acceptance), just to name a few.Leon G. Schiffman and Leslie Lazar Kanuk,Consumer Behavior, 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000), 37.

  1. Make a list of the various segments you think marketers might put you in. Have you ever thought about these before? Why or why not?
  2. Take note of the advertisements that catch your eye over a couple days. Do they match up with any of the segments you listed in the first question?
  3. Are there any groups that you think it would be unethical to segment and target for marketing? Explain your answer.

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