Thinking about audiences is a huge part of our work in tech PR. Yes, we do the big, ‘all guns blazing’ flavour of consumer PR (and very successfully - you’ll have seen our work), but it’s sometimes sobering, when planning B2B campaigns, to realise that the people we’re targeting might number only a few dozen. The flip side is that we know very quickly if your campaign is working from feedback at trade shows, from journalists, clients and the movers and shakers online.
So, just occasionally, it’s nice for the broader value of technology communications to be vindicated. Last night, turning up to my first village Parish Church Council (PCC) meeting, I walked into a lively and well informed pre-meeting debate on the relevant merits of Outlook versus open source alternatives. Now, I don’t think anyone would be offended (I did say I’d write a blog on it) by my noting that the average attendee would likely have retired well before the dotcom revolution: nor by my characterising my Oxfordshire village as ‘Vicar of Dibley’ country. Neither, I think, would the – somewhat senior – Rector himself mind my recalling his surprise at discovering a passionate 87 year old open source advocate in the village.
Now, whatever our thoughts on the present direction of consumerised open source, its spread and popular relevance is humbling (kudos, Mr Bridgwater…). It’s also a wake-up call to marketers everywhere not to be blinkered by the stereotypes and perversely narrow audiences we invoke in marketing plans. And, just maybe, it shows us a little bit of the broader value of what we do as communicators.