You work for a local car dealership, and have been asked by your chamber of commerce to deliver a presentation to the community on buying a car. Your town consists of about 40,000 people, but you do not know who will actually attend the presentation. You also do not know the needs of the people well enough to deliver the presentation effectively. You decide to conduct an audience analysis.
Explain the following:
How would you conduct an audience assessment in this situation?
What means might you use to get to know the people in the community?
What kinds of questions would you ask them, or ask others about them?
Why are these questions relevant to your presentation?
How will knowing your audience help you to best deliver your speech, provide handouts, use audio/visual equipment, and other elements of your presentation?
In regard to why the list of questions has relevance to your presentation: The data collected restricts the scope of your presentation within the parameters of the economic and other facts that comprise the reality of the community. For instance, if the 40,000 community members are almost exclusively blue collar workers with 3.2 children each and a thriving high school sports department, you will not do well to focus attention on how to buy or lease luxury cars. Rather, you will do well to focus attention on how to buy family-friendly used and new cars. Conversely, if the 40,000 citizens are employees of national think-tanks, lobbying establishments, law firms, and research universities, you would do well to focus attention on buying or leasing luxury cars.
Target marketing has and will continue to work in the future. However, product promotion ideally should that the product "sells itself." Having a superior product that is recognized as such by consumers will insure sales. Consider the Iphone or Ipad. If your dealership sells the latest Prius or new technology car for a reasonable price, people will buy it, regardless of demographics.
It's surprising how much information about the demographics of even fairly small towns -- much smaller than 40,000 -- is available these days on Google. All you have to do is enter the name of the town in a Google search and you will usually find at least a handful of sites that provide basic information about income levels, ethnic groups, etc. For instance, I just now typed into Google "Poughkeepsie, NY," and here is one of the sites that popped up:
I agree with #3 - you're going to have to be prepared to be very flexible with your presentation. If you truly have to go into the presentation with as little base information as you are claiming in your scenario, you have a variety of slides available that cover a number of topics. Before you start, you get a show of hands in response to basic questions that will allow you to determine some of the predominant concerns or questions among your audience members. Then, you pick and choose slides to build your presentation on the fly, styling it as you go to address the topics that have been indicated. Handouts based on some basic themes could be created ahead of time but would need to be pretty generic.
Hopefully, you will already know the different kinds of people that are in your community and the different sorts of needs they will have. After all, you've been selling cars in that community for quite a while.
So, what you should do is to come prepared to talk about the needs of any demographic since there's no way to know who will show up at this talk. If you do surveys and all that, you're probably wasting your time because there's no way to know whether the people you survey will resemble the people who show up.
What you should do is have various slides made up to cover the different kinds of needs people have. Then, at the start, you give basic advice. From there, you ask for specific questions and go from there. Or you could ask things like "how many people need to know about buying vs. leasing?" Or "how many people have questions about financing?"
Knowing your audience is key in any speech or written presentation. If your audience is made up of wealthier citizens, you would want to discuss purchasing higher priced cars. If your audience is made up of lower income citizens, discussing the ins and outs of purchasing a Porsche is probably not going to be very successful. You also need to know something about your audience's needs in a vehicle. A farmer will need a different type of vehicle that a mother of three.
A good place to start might be questioning the chamber of commerce personnel that invited you to present. They might be able to tell you a little more about your audience. Another way to get information would be to conduct a survey. A written survey delivered in the mail might work if you have enough time or a survey given over the telephone might work as well. Ask your audience what they like or dislike about their current vehicle. Ask them about their level of income and what they would be willing to spend on a new car. Ask about their lifestyles and what they need from a vehicle. These types of questions will give a better idea of who the audience is and what type of speech will be successful.