I’ve never liked the phrase “mass media.” The truth is that all media is intimate.
If you create messaging that tries to speak to everyone, there’s a strong chance that you’re speaking to no one. And yet, we have the challenge in our profession of creating messaging that connects and resonates with individuals while we’re blasting that message to the masses.
During the pandemic, that challenge has actually been relatively easy for marketers because virtually the whole world has been in the unusual position of sharing similar “we” experiences: “We’re frightened.” “We’re uncertain.” “We’re bored.” “We miss our family.” “We’re seeing the good in people.” “We love everyday heroes.”
But, as we begin to take the first steps to dig out of this mess, everyone will be emerging with a unique and singular viewpoint: “I’m grateful.” “I’m angry.” “I kept my job.” “I lost my job.” “I saved money.” “I’m broke.” “I feel better.” “I feel worse.” Some people will come out of their bunkers renewed and energized. Others will be absolutely devastated. So, how do you speak to all of them?
You speak to each of them.
The value of your product or service is a constant. Your message that describes its value is a variable. So, craft multiple messages and then test them. Picture in your mind a singular face that represents each of your different kinds of consumers. And then, imagine what you’d say to that person if he or she were standing next to you in the room. Create a plan that focuses on how and where you want to reach that specific person. Then, rinse and repeat with the next persona.
Certainly, there are strong threads of connection that we will continue to share after this collective experience. Don’t steer away from that important connection. But, at the same time, be aware of the more specific personas that you can reach in more targeted advertising mediums aside from the mass media.
Much will be written in future months about the collective “psyche” of the American consumer, post-COVID-19. As a marketer, just remember not to paint that consumer with that same broad brush.