The importance of understanding your audience – and why Mattel have got it spot-on with Barbie movie 



OK, hands-up if you’re planning on seeing the new Barbie movie? I must admit that, even though I was a Sindy fan growing up, the hype around the new film with an all-star cast has got my attention, writes Kerry Ganly.

There is no denying that the marketing team at Mattel has got it spot-on when it comes to promoting the movie, and that they had done their research when it comes to their target audience.

The doll, who is in pretty good shape for 64-years-of-age, was initially targeted at young girls between the ages of three and 12. But she has been through a lot of cultural changes over the years; there are now 175 looks offering a variety of eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions and, earlier this year, the first Barbie with Down’s Syndrome was unveiled.

In moving with the times – an advertising push that debuted during American football coverage in 2017 was called ‘Dads who play Barbie’ – Barbie has expanded her target audience. Indeed, the new film is aimed at older people for whom it will be nostalgic, evoking memories of their childhood.

Mattel have it spot on. But does your organisation?

You don’t have to have the budget that a juggernaut like Mattel has. You just need to know who your target audience is, and really understand what their needs are (and we can help with that!)

We have a variety of clients here at Penguin PR, from funeral directors, schools and charities to accountancy firms, HR companies and award-winning science companies. Each has their own target audience and we work hard to get clients in front of the right people.

In addition to increasing ROI, understanding your target market allows you to build relationships and better communicate with consumers. Figuring out what content and messages your people care about is of the utmost importance and tells you the appropriate tone and voice for your message – whether that’s in local or national media, or on social media.

Local media – whether that’s consumer or trade media – can allow an organisation to connect with its community, be it print, online, TV or radio. They are not scaled-down versions of their national counterparts and whilst gaining national coverage for your brand can be a huge boost – particularly if the publication gives you a valuable back-link – ask yourself what it actually means for your organisation.

For schools, for example, a thought-piece in a publication such as TES can help with their professional profile. But if it’s prospective parents that they want to reach, this is where local media – and social media – is perfect (we also have it on good authority that populating Google with ‘good news’ featured on local media sites is looked at favourably by Ofsted inspectors…)

National media does, though, have a place. It has a higher search volume, higher traffic and a higher domain authority, meaning that it is ranked higher in a good-old Google search.

A great way of achieving national coverage is by ‘newsjacking’ – responding to national events in the media as they break. For example, HR & Employment Law specialists Precept were quick to share their thoughts on what employers should do, and employee rights, in a heatwave (and with this, timing was of the utmost importance).

And don’t forget the importance of social media, too.

For professional services in particular, a perfectly-crafted LinkedIn post or a blog can show your network that you REALLY know your onions, increase traffic to your website and social media channels.

Used in the right way social media, just like local media, can help connect people, share information and build relationships. And, if you’re lucky, you can even go viral!

If you want us to help identify your target audience and supercharge your business, get in touch.

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