A Life Lesson from Veronica Mars

Remember that TV classic Veronica Mars? (There’s a movie coming out in March FYI, so I’m pretty excited).

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I love it – sure it may be off the air, but that doesn’t stop me from obsessing over the show in my free time.  Realistically I could re-watch episode after episode full of sleuthing and witty banter.  I was doing just that last night when I realized that Veronica (and the show’s creators) would probably be (and in fact, are) great at marketing.

I took Principles of Marketing my senior year in undergrad at Wells College, and the one of the very first things that came out of my professor’s mouth – other than her introduction – was, “Know your audience”.

Know your audience.

The Holy Grail of marketing in some ways.  Every marketing class I took from that point on, – whether it was Sustainable Marketing, Digital Marketing, Event Marketing, you name it – mentioned this key tidbit of information at least once.  And it’s true, it really is valuable advice.  Just think about it: if you don’t know your audience – who they are, what they like and dislike, what they want, what makes them feel – how are you going to speak to them, build a relationship with them, and connect with them?  Veronica Mars always seemed to know her audience; she knew when to use witty banter and when to be aggressive, and she always seemed to know exactly how to talk to someone to get what she wanted or needed.  Sure, sure, it’s scripted and thus ideal – I can’t count the number of times I thought of some impressive response to a conversation or an argument I’d had minutes or hours earlier – but, she knew her audience. Always.

For me, this sage piece of advice applies to much more than marketing. Thinking back, I used it a lot as a kid! If I wanted those oh so addicting Reese’s Puffs or wanted to sleepover at a friend’s house, I knew how to tailor my request depending on who I was talking to.  I know I still use it today – every day – too, in my personal life, in my academic endeavors, at work; whenever I have a conversation at work, I always think (both consciously and subconsciously) who I’m talking to and how to approach them in order to get them to see my perspective or help me with something.  How I approach my boss about something I want to change in the department is very different from how I approach my business group manager or general manager for the same thing – because, like everyone else, they’re all very different people who respond very differently to certain delivery methods and messages.  The same applies to my personal life; if I’m trying to convince my boyfriend to watch a certain movie (he’s not big on romantic comedies, and they happen to be my guilty pleasure) or eat a healthy meal as opposed to Taco Bell (his (understandably) guilty pleasure), I always think about how to approach the conversation, how to tailor the message to persuade him.

What are your thoughts on “knowing your audience”? How (and where) do you use it in everyday life?

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