You can choose your target audience, but you can’t always choose how to reach them

Posted by on

“Put content where people are, not where you want them to be.”

Curt Chandler, Penn State professor and multimedia guru, spoke these words to Gregory FCA staffers recently during a presentation about communications best practices in today’s digital age. Chandler explained that one of the biggest mistakes marketers, journalists and PR professionals can make is expecting their target audience to find their content no matter where they post it. Instead, it is paramount for today’s communications professionals to identify where their audience gets their information and meet them there.

As much as you want your audience to be somewhere, chances are you’re not going to change how people get their information. Someone who gets their news on Twitter won’t see your newspaper article, and a loyal New York Times reader isn’t going to find your latest blog post. To reach more people, financial marketers must follow their audience’s natural behavior — don’t expect them to change their preferred means of receiving information. This will save you time and resources and ensure you’re getting the most eyes on your content.

Media outlets have already caught on to this trend. As my colleague Joe Anthony discussed in his recent post, financial TV networks made a smart move by partnering with social media channels last month. CNBC, for example, now reaches a massive online audience by streaming content in real time via Facebook Live. With 750 million active users on Facebook and over 300 million on Twitter, it makes sense for financial marketers to utilize these platforms to increase exposure as much as possible.

Similarly, as the manner in which financial services are being delivered continues to change, the way financial services are marketed must also shift. A parallel can be drawn to a trend we’re seeing deeply permeate the financial advice arena. In the past, financial advisers usually sat down in one-on-one meetings with their clients once or twice a year. Today, investors crave access to their financial information anywhere and anytime they want. They also want online chat features and technological means of getting in touch with their adviser other than the telephone. The fastest-growing RIAs have responded to clients’ changing needs by developing a hybrid approach that integrates the latest technology with more traditional client-facing, one-on-one financial advice.

Financial marketers need to take a page out of this playbook by following investors’ preferences and getting on board with how and where they consume content. Instead of insisting your audience find your content in a specific place, proactively target them on social media, email marketing campaigns or whichever media vehicle they choose to consume or check regularly.

Not everyone is reading a hard copy newspaper anymore. As we’ve noted on this blog before, the media landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented and consumers now have the luxury of picking and choosing where and how to digest information.

We can’t force people to come to us, but we do have the power to disseminate our content through varying platforms and reach our targeted audience where they already live. Financial marketers need to adapt to how and where people are getting their content, and always be on the lookout for where our audience is going next.