Audience s are groups you speak at.  Communities are groups you have a dialogue with.

Who you elect to target, your mindset for the targeting, makes all the difference.

“Communities”aren’t new.  We all have them/are part of them.  Growing up, our communities were classmates… teammates… the neighborhood gaggle.  In business, they are our colleagues, clients and industry groups.  Communities are the safe, trusted places where we test ideas, explore innovation, ask for help and seek resources.  Communities require participation – to have community requires you to be community.

segmentsThe implications for Agency and Marketing Communications professionals are large.  Messaging to an interactive community is so different an approach than if you messaging to a target audience segment.  Just look at the word characterization I instinctively chose for each:  “audience segment” (distanced, cold, passive);  “interactive”  (collaborative, dynamic, warm/fuzzy).

It’s difficult for an audience segment/target never invests personally your the message.  But if you can tap into community, behaviors are much more likely to be impacted.

Think through the distinction as your next campaign readies for launch, as you evolve strategies for you next outbound initiative.  The approach and metrics may look quite different, as you do.

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