On Monday, I had an illuminating exchange with a member of one of the communities I lead.
It highlighted one of the key hangups people have when they are in the initial stages of developing their community strategy.
How do I properly define WHO my community is for?
As this member described to me, thoughts about who to target often lead to thinking about demographics.
But as he said, “How do I define the WHO when it’s far more about the common journey than the common characteristics, and a diversity of characteristics are an important part of taking the common journey?”
I replied that he just did.
Appeal to values, not identities
And while there may be instances in which values overlap with demographics, you’re going to fail more often than not if you think demographic segmentation is the key to building an engaged community.
Instead, you should think about psychographics — “the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.”
Think about worldviews, goals, and challenges first.
- What do your people want?
- Why do they want it?
- What keeps them from getting it?
Once you know the answers to those questions, then you can start thinking about gender, age, income, or some other demographic factor if any of those factors is actually relevant.
They may be. Just be careful.
With a few exceptions, a demographic mistake is likely to be less costly than a psychographic mistake as you build your community.
And herein lies both the challenge and the opportunity.
Don’t settle for shortcuts
Demographics are easier. Psychographics tend to be harder to define and find. So the shortcut of demographics is often appealing.
But that’s why there is a big reward for those community builders who are willing to go the extra mile — those who will put in the work to define the attitudes and worldviews they are targeting, and then go out and find the people who fit into those categories.
Don’t take the shortcut and settle for demographics. They are a part of the pie, but only a small part.
Think psychographics first, and you’ll be on a more reliable path toward attracting the right kind of people for your community.
Take pride in defining strong values that form the foundation for your community. Then have the humility to understand you will need to do the hard work of identifying the people who share those values and building trust with them over time.
Now here are some additional links on this topic …
The benefits of digger deeper
To go beyond even psychographics to really understand why people make buying decisions, you need to ask the right questions to the right people — and then use that information to create profiles/personas that will help you focus your message.
Understand the differences
If you’re unclear on the differences between demographics and psychographics, this post will help.
The Differences Between Psychographics and Demographics | PatientBond
Get clear about values
“Mind-binding” seems a bit much to describe this article, but it is helpful — especially numbers 6 and 8, which deal with reinforcing values and aspirational messaging, two elements you need to succeed.
Thank you for reading this issue of Primility.
Please consider forwarding it to a friend who wants to be a better servant leader and build a strong online community.
Daoudi Aissa on Unsplash