Pitch your plan, know your audience!

‘Shall we go away for a wonderful weekend?’ I will not let this question pass me by. A wonderful weekend away. Berlin, Vienna or Oslo! The laptop opens quickly. Ready to find a beautiful destination. The energy buzzes through my body when I think about what is coming. I type in my internet browser …. ryanair.com. The first step of the journey has been taken.

When looking at the website, you would almost forget that Ryanair is an airline. No photos of airplanes or boring airports, no. You mainly see photos of nice cities. Cities you would like to visit for a weekend. You will find extensive tourist information about the most beautiful regions of Europe on the website. And of course the low prices are eye-catching. We are happy to sit in the front row for a dime. How do they do those low prices? No one really cares about that. What the customer wants is a weekend away to a beautiful destination at a low price.

Ryanair is the airline known as a price fighter. An important part of their 'price war' business model is that Ryanair's fleet consists of more than 400 identical aircraft (Boeing 737-800), making purchasing and maintenance cheaper and easier. Ryanair's secret is based in everything they do on saving and… that all extras must be paid for. Every employee and manager within Ryanair is busy optimizing this business model. Internal communication within Ryanair is therefore strongly focused on: ‘how do you reduce costs so that you can offer the lowest ticket price.’ The customer does not find this message very interesting and is therefore not communicated externally.

Know your audience

The example of Ryanair shows that we are dealing with different groups of people. All with their own customs and their own language. So you have the management that is busy with investors and stakeholders. The managers who are busy optimizing the business model. And customers who want to go away for a weekend. And they are all concerned with ‘affordable flying’.

Whether it concerns ‘affordable flying’, bringing your ideas to the news or simply wanting to sell something, the principle is the same. Every story, plan or pitch must fit the audience in the room. You only convince the audience if you say what fits in with their perception of the world. Being aware that people have their own customs and language helps enormously. Just listen to what sentences your customers use to describe their situation? What specific jargon do you use to show that you are on the same page?

Audience Canvas

The Audience Canvas helps you amplify your message. It provides insight into the language and topics per target group. Because without a good pitch you will not be able to attract the right candidates to your team or interest investors. You also need a good message to attract customers. With the Audience Canvas you can convince people that good results are realistic. The Audience Canvas divides your audience into:

  • Audience #1: Boards, investors and regulators. Abstract communication is very helpful at this level. Adjust the language and topics to suit this target group.
  • Audience #2: Customers, Marketing, and Salespeople: Don't get too specific or bury your audience in details and statistics that don't concern them. Make sure you balance that with the help of references that connect them. 
  • Audience #3: operational departments, specialists, managers: This group requires realistic communication. When you work with this group, content and details are important to get people involved.  

If you have to write or present a department plan, marketing plan, business case or otherwise, the impact will be greater if you prepare the Audience Canvas completed. 

Ruud Olijve

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