Thinking Communities Rather Than Audiences

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NOELLE WEAVER: I’ve been thinking about the terms that we use in advertising which have become over-used or out-dated. An example would be, "out-of-the-box thinking."

Here’s two more that I would like to nominate: target and audience.

The open source revolution has certainly changed the dynamics of marketing and allowed for consumer participation and creation. [This we know from the headlines.] Let’s face it, clients have tried for ages to get people to talk about their brand. Consumers are not only talking, they’re mashing, merging and editing brand messages and telling everyone they can whether it is through word-of-mouth, on blogs or sites like and

In short, consumers are already deep in conversation with each other about what our clients’ brands mean to them. They’re creating messages that inform and entertain. And they’re doing it without us.

So let’s erase the words target and audience from our vocabulary. And let’s replace them with the word community. Did you see what just happened?

Suddenly you begin to think about a group of people in a whole new way. You tend to ask questions like; "Who are they communicating with?" "What do they have in common?" "What are they saying to each other?"and "Where and how are they saying it?"

And instead of talking at them [as we have done for so many years] we actually allow ourselves to think about ways for us and our clients to become part of the conversation.
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