There are several ways to think about segmenting potential audiences.  One way is using a scale from 1 to 5 and to consider who along that scale is most important to your strategy.

  • Base. These are the folks who are already “with you,” but need engagement to stay motivated and active. The communications strategy for this group should be closely aligned to any organizing strategies your organi- zation may have, as well as membership and coalition- building efforts.
  • Persuadables. Identified through public opinion research, experience, and partner conversations, among other tactics, these are groups that could be with you with the right motivation. It’s important that your mes- sages to these groups serve both short- and long-term goals. Ideally, you want to bring them along for the long haul, not just one specific campaign.
  • Opposition. This group is highly unlikely to be inspired to join you. Your strategy should be to neu- tralize the effect they have on persuadable audiences. By and large, you should not spend resources trying to influence this group.

Another way to think about segmenting your audience is to consider the kinds of people you need to convince first - the people who will make important decisons, or who your audience members listen to the most.

  • Decision makers. This group often holds the key to the realization of your policy goals. In an ideal world, they’d be part of your base or your persuadables. In those cases, it’s your job to find the messages that motivate them toward fulfilling a specific “ask.” In some instances, key decision makers are most accurately described as your opposition. In those cases, you need specific strategies to find enough shared interests and values to move them. Sometimes this can be done through influencers.
  • Influencers. These are the people and institutions to whom your decision makers are responsive. They may have moral authority, such as resides with faith leaders and congregations; they may have persuasive force, as editorial boards do; or they may have a direct relationship, as do customers or donors. Your task with influenc- ers is to motivate them to move the decision makers in your direction, or to move decision makers to whom you may not have direct access.