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Let’s look at the “A” in the ABCs of Digital Transformation. What does it stand for? The letter “A” represents “Audience Research.” We define Audience Research as the act of discovering user pain-points and collecting true usability feedback. To really understand an organization’s audience, we follow a structured process that is heavily rooted in exploration. We strongly promote that type of process because the best, most revealing insights are discovered when we are able to explore. In this piece, we’ll share more on the importance of audience research and the reason we don’t rely on member surveys only to collect audience feedback.

Why audience research is an important driver of digital transformation?

Driving a digital transformation requires that organizations understand the audience and target of the transformation. The term “audience” is often used interchangeably with “member”, “user”, “patron”, or “consumer.” When describing an audience we are considering both internal and external personas because it’s important to understand both users of your digital assets.

Defining the audience will allow your organization to identify:

  1. Who you are serving?
  2. What are their needs?
  3. How can you better meet their expectations?

Audience Make-up at Macro and Micro Level

Deeper audience understanding allows organizations to segment their audience further. For example, a member can be part of your organization during the early, mid, or late-stage of their career. Understanding the stage in their career, you can begin to define what their needs are from a holistic macro level and a micro level.

For example, we may learn that early career members are in school or training and experiencing intense economic pressures like student debt and transitions from training to professional life. While those particular experiences may be very different from your late-career members, understanding your audience’s various needs is necessary for digital transformation because it will inform priorities and guide decisions.

The Internal Audience

Importantly, audience understanding must capture your organization’s internal audience. Often, the internal audience is made up of constituents like staff, leadership, core team, department heads, and subject matter experts (SMEs). Insight into the needs of these constituents is very valuable in determining the organization’s desire and tolerance for change.

Understanding the internal audience allows your organization to identify:

  1. Desire for change
  2. Urgency for change
  3. Skillsets and training potential
  4. Alignment of vision for digital transformation

Collecting Audience Feedback

We’re often asked: Why isn’t an audience survey enough for collecting audience feedback? While the best audience understanding is informed by the demographic data typical of a member survey, member surveys are based on fixed input. In addition, surveys are commonly conducted on a bi-annual or yearly basis. There are instances that member surveys provide value however, the passage of time from initiating a survey to finalizing insight is often on the scale of a quarter or two. In other words, member surveys are often too slow to provide topical, relevant, and timely data on audience sentiment and pain points. For digital transformations to be successful, your organization must have a more timely approach to feedback loops.

Digital transformations will have an impact on audiences internally and externally to the organization. In conclusion, to effectively lead a digital transformation, it is fundamentally important to understand the makeup and drivers for your audience.

Download our Digital Transformation Workbook

Our Digital Transformation Workbook simplifies what digital transformation means for your organization. You’ll be able to assess your organization’s preparedness for change with our readiness checklist. We have an overview of the ABCs of Digital Transformation. There’s also a set of questions to help you identify internal weaknesses and strengths as you face a Digital Transformation. Don’t wait to improve your digital presence and your audience’s online experience.