Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Audience – Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers by Jeffrey K. Rohrs

“If you build it, they will come.” Or, in this case, provide great content and it will be consumed. But what if it’s not? In today’s content marketing world (see what I did there?), most of the focus has been on providing useful, engaging content on a consistent basis. The assumption has been that your customers will be there to take it all in. What if you’ve got the content, but no one to check it out? Luckily, Jeff Rohrs has written a book that will answer that side of the equation: Audience – Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers.

Rohrs, VP of Marketing Insights for Exact Target, co-created the Subscribers, Fans & Followers research series (if you haven’t read any of these entries, stop what you’re doing and do so now: Rather than just compiling this research into book form, he focuses on how to create what he calls “proprietary audience development” (PAD). This is “the comprehensive, collaborative, and cross-channel effort to build audiences that your company alone can access.” Because consumers have so many choices and are bombarded with messages every second, we have to earn their attention, action and loyalty. Because of this, PAD is now a core marketing responsibility.

Your proprietary audience needs to be viewed as a valuable business asset for your company. Your marketing efforts should include what he calls the “The Audience Imperative”. This is the use of your paid, owned and earned media not only to sell in the short term, but also to increase the size, engagement and value of your proprietary audiences over the long term. Rohrs gives numerous examples of brands that have successfully gone through the steps to do this.

Rohrs walks you through the different audience channels to help you build them into your strategy. He also shows you the steps to build, engage and value your audiences. Yes, there’s some math in determining the value, but he walks you through that as well. His examples and ability to explain his processes in a clear, easy manner make this a reference book that you will come back to again and again. 

Overall, this is one of the most useful books I’ve read and I will be implementing many of his steps at my own job. I happened to read it right after Joe Pulizzi’s “Epic Content Marketing (see my review of that book: and it’s the perfect companion. It truly is the opposite side of the same coin, as he calls it. You need great content to develop your audience and you need your proprietary audience to consume your content. I highly recommend both for clear steps to create a complete marketing plan.

If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear your views. Even if you haven’t, I’d love to hear your thoughts on audience development. Thanks for reading, and as always, if you like my posts, sign up to get my blog through your email and share it with your friends.


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