Whatever you are writing – be it a novel, a tweet, an article –  you can’t land your story without knowing your audience. But as marketers and communicators, how do we best align the right message to the right customer?

According to W2O Group’s Bob Pearson, that’s where the practice of Storytizing comes in. Storytizing, or audience architecture & segmentation, is rooted in using data and analytics to uncover not only what audience segments are saying about themselves, but also what their online behavior is saying about the types of stories that will have the most impact on them.

This was the topic of conversation last week as we hosted our first ever W2O Group GeekATea during Social Media Week London.

Fortnum & Mason’s afternoon tea

But first: what is a GeekATea, you may ask? As Annalise Coady, President of our agency Twist Mktg and head of our London office, noted as we kicked off the event, the name is a British nod to our annual GeekACue event we hold during SXSW in Austin, Texas where we celebrate our appreciation of both barbecue and digital communications. It was only fitting in London that we celebrate the tradition of Afternoon Tea as a backdrop to a lively discussion on this ever-important practice of audience architecture.

At this intimate afternoon tea at the renowned Fortnum and Mason, we were honored to have with us:

  • Will Hayward, CEO of JOE Media, biggest premium male-focused publisher in the UK, Board Member of Social Media Week London.
  • Bob Pearson, President of W2O Group and author of Storytizing
  • Lucas Galan, Head of Analytics Productization at W2O Group

The session kicked off with an overview of trends in storytizing from Bob, and then segued into an introduction to JOE Media’s audience strategy from Will. Following, Lucas provided a deep dive into a case study of audience segmentation research conducted by W2O Group and Joe Media about a very specific and, as we learned, underestimated audience segment – the British male.

Will Hayward discussing JOE Media's audience strategy
Will Hayward discussing JOE Media’s audience strategy

Here’s a brief recap of the major takeaways:

Chapter 1: The new media outlet. New media outlets are built based on audience need, not advertisers’ need for reach. The editorial plan is based on the actual needs of the audience. In this sense, a “media outlet” is defined by customers – we decide what matters and where we spend our time. The good news: a brand site could become a media outlet in its own right… if it is authentic, dependable and it truly understands the audience’s needs.

Bob Pearson of W2O Group, discussing Storytizing
Bob Pearson of W2O Group, discussing Storytizing

Chapter 2Habits win. Media sites will succeed and fail as fast as bars and restaurants. Those who succeed will have built audiences that depend on the outlet as part of their daily ritual.

Chapter 3: Media planning will become AUDIENCE planning. Media planning of the past told us where our audience is, but not what content is going to have an impact on that audience. Micro-audience segmentation will lead to hundreds/thousands of segments to address.

Segmentation of the UK male audience, based on research by W2O Group and JOE Media
Segmentation of the UK male audience, based on research by W2O Group and JOE Media

Chapter 4: Segmenting your audience by analytics, not stereotypes, is the future. Audiences are complex and they do not want to be lumped into broad stereotypes. Our analysis of JOE Media’s audience showed that only 17% of men feel that UK media accurately represent the type of man they are.

Example of Starstuck segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.
Example of Starstuck segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.
Example of Londonites segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.
Example of Londonites segment from W2O Group & JOE Media analysis.

Chapter 5: Surveys vs. analytics. It’s not enough to ask people what they want. People tell you what you want to hear if you ask them, observe them and you will get to know what they really think. The power of these combined allows us to figure out how to most effectively activate specific audience segments.

Chapter 6: Be new school. The value of traditional journalism is huge but the economics is no longer there. Operate under the mentality that everything you are doing is “old school” and always be seeking the “new school.” Will Hayward says at JOE Media, they take the best of old school journalism and bring it into the future (stay tuned for a major announcement from JOE Media that illustrates this concept in the upcoming days!).