Audience Responses

Written by Sierra Rein
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In today's competitive and speedy economy, knowing how to collect, analyze and build off of audience responses is a major part of smart business planning. Any company, be it a large entertainment studio or a software technology firm, can reap many rewards by understanding personal reactions from past and potential clients. Indeed, entire marketing campaigns and product engineering have been redirected based on how a group of people feels about a particular product or service!

How Audience Responses Can Guide a Company's Future

An audience can be defined as a group of people who may appreciate or become involved in the purchasing of products in the future, or at least those people who have a constructive or critical thought about them. Their opinion matters because they are future customers, clients and possible business partners. On the other hand, a board meeting can be full of audience members, as well as a group of employees eager to offer their opinions about their jobs.

During the developmental and design process, a marketing manager may bring in a group of people into the office building or laboratory to test, discuss and ask for ideas about improving a particular product. This may be in the forms of a taste test, taking a test drive, watching a video presentation, or handing out samples to take home and report on. The audience responses that come out of this can literally redirect the future of the company.

For example, if an audience is shown a television pilot and all the women between the ages of 35 and 55 enjoyed it more than girls between 21 and 35, chances are the show will be pitched to studios and cable channels that have an older generational following. Alternatively, if negative reactions to a product arise out of the meeting (i.e. "this drink has a bad aftertaste" or "this beauty cream made my skin itch") major improvements in the product itself need to be taken care of before it hits the supermarkets. This process, while slow, can save a company a huge amount of money and can prevent such problems as poor sales, returned items and even recalls in the future.

Who is Your Audience?

It is important to know how to pick the right demographic of people in order to choose those audience members who will be more likely to use the company's services. For example, video games are more likely to be enjoyed and bought by young males within the 15 to 35 age range; thus, an electronic gaming company will be more likely to choose people within this demographic than others. However, it is also beneficial to gather opinions from other demographics--such as young girls and parents of game players--to get wider audience responses and a more rounded opinion on the genre itself.

Collecting Audience Responses Is No Longer a Chore

In the past, the process of getting audience responses was viewed as tedious and difficult. Long hand-written surveys took time to fill out and a lot of time to collect and analyze. However, the benefits of getting this precious information were deemed to be of the utmost importance, and the process a necessary evil.

Today, however, filling out a questionnaire by hand is only one option of getting audience responses. With the use of multiple choice "scantron" polls, online and computerized opinion software, and even real-time reaction technologies, collecting audience reactions can be an easy, day-to-day reality. Modern software is now able to collect and immediately print out graphs and other analytical tools, allowing marketing and development departments to instantly begin the next step towards business success.

Improving the Company Structure and Morale

Sometimes the audience responses in question can be found right in your own building! Collecting employee opinions regarding the job, pay rate, working conditions and in-house policies can help any office or business manager gauge how well the company is being run and which improvements can help to increase production, positive attitudes and employee safety. Workers will also appreciate the fact that they can express their opinion, anonymously or not, and that someone is interested in listening to their issues, complaints and constructive criticisms.

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