The Common Forms of Business Writing chart at the bottom of the Business Writing Academy home page outlines various business communication types and their purpose. Adding to that information, the chart below shows the most common audience type for each communication form.

Planning and Audience Analysis in Business Writing

Business writing, like all other fiction writing, needs the writer to fully understand their audience. Too often a business writer sits behind their computer and asks, “What do I want to write about?” This question places the writer at odds with the audience. The question best asked when beginning any business writing project is, “What will the reader (audience) need to know to understand my message and what type of behavior do I want the reader to exhibit after they read my message?” Thus, the first step in business writing is planning, based on the three-step writing process. Planning requires the author to understand their purpose for writing and requires them to develop an audience profile, especially for lengthy or complex business writing projects.

The Common Forms of Business Writing chart at the bottom of the Business Writing Academy home page outlines various business communication types and their purpose. Adding to that information, the chart below shows the most common audience type for each communication form.

Common Forms of Business Writing and Their Audience Type

Audience Profile Guidelines

Naturally, the purpose of your writing will dictate to what extent you will analyze your audience. As an example, if you are crafting a business email, you may already understand the receiver (audience) expects from the communication. With that example, you may decide to bypass an in-depth analysis of the audience. However, if you are drafting a report for an external audience or memo to a larger group of employees (internal audience) you will need to create an audience profile. The following six areas are guidelines for planning an audience profile.

  • Identify your primary audience and secondary audience (when required).
  • What are your audience size and their geographic locations?
  • Understand the audience’s level of understanding.
  • What are your audiences’ expectations and their preferences?
  • Anticipate audience reaction to your communication.

Detailed Explanation of Audience Profile Guidelines

Primary Audience

The primary audience for a business writer includes the main person or people who will read the writing, initially. This may include your boss, the CEO of the organization, or group of individuals within a department, a customer, or a segment of a target audience which may include hundreds or thousands of potential readers.

A note on Secondary Audience Members: Your message may end up with a secondary audience or reader. That is, the primary audience member way pass along your message, making the new recipient a secondary audience. It is important to not ignore the needs of the potential secondary audience, but keep your message focused on the key audience member, the primary audience. An example of a secondary audience may include an executive team. Imagine that the CEO of the company asked you to prepare a market analysis report on a new product. The CEO instructed you to send her the report directly but noted that they will also share your report with their executive team. The executive team becomes the secondary audience. Having an understanding about their needs is just as important as knowing the needs of the CEO, the primary audience member.

Audience Size and Geographic Location

The size of your audience could determine your communication approach. Audience sizes of 1,000 or even 10,000 need a different writing approach than one used for just a few audience members. Additionally, audiences located around the world also require a different method for communicating. Before you write your message, determine the size of your audience.

Audience Composition

Each person receiving your business message may interpret that message differently from the other audience receivers (see diagram below). When planning your business writing, seek to understand the audience’s cultural differences and similarities. Take into consideration their language preference, age, education, economic and social status, attitudes, experience, motivation, and beliefs. This information can help you understand their biases when writing your message.

Visit the Purdue University Writing Lab to learn more about writing for a global business audience.

Audience Analysis diagram

Audience Level of Understanding

Audiences have various levels of understanding content. If your intended audience shares your background, they will have a higher chance of understanding your message, Conversely, if your audience does not share your background, they may not understand your message. If your audience does not share a similar academic or professional background as you, the writer, consider briefly educating them on your topic in your message.

Audience expectations and preferences

When writing for internal audiences, determine their expectations for the communication. Typically, the C-Suite and executives prefer brief messages with fewer details. Additionally, understand your audiences’ preferences for message length and content. Do they expect a lot of details or just a summary of the main points? As a rule, messages or reports targeting higher levels within the organization require fewer details but do require just the main points.

Possible Audience Reaction

Audience reactions may affect the organization of your message. If you expect a favorable reaction to your message, you can minimize any supporting evidence and quickly get to your conclusion and recommendations. On the other hand, if you expect skepticism from your audience, you will need to supply lots of proof, gradually rolling the proof out in your writing.

Lesson Conclusion

The first step in business writing using the three-step writing process is to analyze the writing situation. This step includes defining your writing purpose and developing an audience profile as we discussed above. In the next lesson, we discuss the second part of the planning step in the writing process, gathering information about the needs of your audience and how to gather information about satisfying those needs.

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The Three-Step Writing Process in Business Communication

Effective business writing is essential to a company because it helps create efficient communication that leads to increased productivity, faster problem solving, stronger decision-making, and increased profits. It also helps boost the organization’s credibility.

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10 newsletter writing tips for effective newsletters

10 Newsletter Writing Tips For Effective Articles

Newsletters are still an effective way to communicate your company or brand with your customers. They allow you to position yourself as an expert in your industry as well as promote your products and services. Newsletters, if done correctly, can be a very powerful tool in your marketing communications tool box. This daily marketing tip discusses 10 newsletter writing tips for effective newsletters.

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6 Steps for Developing a Marketing Communications Strategy

Imagine that Apple, Inc. or Microsoft’s approach to marketing communications is similar to many small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s). That is, they developed and designed advertising, flyers, social media postings, and promotional collateral first, then went back and created the marketing communications strategy to justify these tactical elements. The result would be inefficient and confusing to their target audience and customers. Unfortunately, this is how many SMBs approach marketing communications and most never bother to create the strategy, even after, deploying tactical marketing communications.

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Direct Response Marketing Tips – Offline and Online Strategies

In a world where marketing and advertising messages bombard consumers at the rate of several hundred or more per day, gaining a competitive advantage seems like a battle. Direct marketers understand this battle all too well, especially those on a budget. The direct response marketing tips below should help you gain traction over the competition and develop a competitive advantage setting you on a course for increased profits.

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7 Content Creation Ideas for Short Attention Spans

A recent study by Microsoft reviled that humans have less attention span than goldfish. In 2000, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds as compared to 8 seconds in 2013. Goldfish have a 9 second attention span.

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5 Customer Complaint Management Tips Every Marketer Should Know

Anyone in business can tell you that customer complaints are all part of doing business. After all, you’re dealing with people who have needs and wants and when those needs and wants are not met, the potential for a complaint increases. To survive and thrive as a business owner, you’re going to need a customer complaint management procedure.

Companies may believe they have a good handle on customer satisfaction by tallying customer complaints and responding to those complaints. However, research has shown that 25 percent of dissatisfied customers who buy from a firm, only 5 percent register a complaint.

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Writing Marketing Communication Objectives

A tutorial for understanding and writing marketing communications objectives, with examples.


What Are Marketing Communication Objectives?

Found in both the marcomm plan and creative strategy statements, marketing communication objectives are determined by problems the target or product category may encounter and any market opportunities the product has to solve to overcome these problems.

Your marketing communication objective should describe what you want your target audience to think, feel, and do after they are exposed to your marketing message. It should answer the fundamental question, “What’s in it for me?”.

Too often, marketing messages fail to deliver the benefits the target audience will get if the target uses the companies product or service. People make purchases based on what they will receive out of the purchase or service. This is why it’s important to include the benefit the target receives in your marketing message.

Every marketing communication strategy, regardless of delivery method; print, broadcast media, e-mail, online, or any other method, has three major objectives:

  • To Create a brand awareness or, in other words, to inform your target audience about your brand.
  • To define a fulfilling need for your product or service, or to persuade them to use your product or service.
  • Encourage action from your target audience, or, in other words, to remind them through various marketing channels about your product or services.

A great way to remember all three objectives is, Inform, Persuade, and Remind.

  1. Inform your target audience about your brand
  2. Persuade your target audience to purchase your product or use your service
  3. Remind your target audience about your brand and encourage them to make the purchase

Explanation of Communication Objectives

Below is a break down of each communication objective and an explanation of why each objective is important. Additionally, I have added some marketing communications objectives examples to help drive the concept into memory

1. Create Brand Awareness (Inform)

Creating brand awareness is to inform your target audience about your brand of your product or service. Creating brand awareness does not necessarily apply to a new brand, but often applies to an existing brand which might be trying to penetrate new markets. The brand message can be delivered via several types of communication channels, such as direct mail, radio, television advertising, environmental advertising (billboards, bus stop signage, and vehicle wraps), or online video and social media. Your delivery method is contingent upon your budget, target region, and product or service, just to name a few communication channels.

Examples of Marketing Communications Objectives

Let’s look at an example for creating brand awareness of a fictions company I made up. I’ll name the company Western Financial Credit Union (WFCU for short). WFCU has two other branch locations in different cities within the state. They are opening a new branch in a smaller town, I’ll call Watsonville, about 45 miles from their two other locations. While few people in Watsonville may have heard of WFCU, the majority have not heard of the credit union, so the marketing department has some work to do in order to inform the new community about WFCU’s brand of financial services products. The marketing department needs to write a few measurable marketing communications objectives as part of their marketing communications plan; something like the following:

  • To successfully penetrate the Watsonville banking market by generating awareness and brand building preference by 30%
  • To stimulate new member accounts by 25% and new financial loans by 15% by offering incentives that offer brand switching
  • To gain a 7% share of the Watsonville home and auto loan lending business by the end of one year.
  • To establish WFCU as the new and preferred financial institution by 8% of eligible Watsonville residents
  • To introduce our HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) loans to qualified Watsonville homeowner residents by 10% using loan bundling packages for first time lenders.

The above examples are just a few marketing communications objectives that can be included in your Marcomm plan. There’s a lot more research that goes into the numbers and percentages for increasing brand awareness. For example, knowing the population of Watsonville, the percent of qualified residents who can open an account, and the percent of residents who are banking within the city with other financial institutions. However, you should already researched this information prior to writing the marketing communication objectives.

2. Define a Fulfilling Need for Your Product/Service (Persuade)

Staying in step with our previous example, let’s discuss how WFCU plans on defining a need for their financial products; how they plan on persuading Watsonville residents to switch from their current bank to the new credit union.

In the marketing communications strategy part of your Marcomm plan, you will outline the creative strategy for positioning your company, product, or service in the target audiences mind in order to convince them to use your product/service. In the case of WFCU, they may approach the residents as the “new kid” in the neighborhood who cares about their community. Being new, they would need to really be creative on how they tie their newness into caring for a community they hardly know. They may do this by painting a dismal picture of the current banks in the city. WFCU may highlight not only their friendly service, but showcase their line of financial products at lower than normal interest rates, at least lower than the current competition, and easy loan qualification for new members.

There are several methods marketers use to persuade and define a fulfilling need for their products. A few are listed below:

  • Provide a money-back guarantee
  • Competitive pricing
  • Low interest rates
  • Easy qualifying
  • Easy return policy
  • How the product or service will make life easier for the purchaser
  • Bundling services and products at a savings when the competition is not doing it
  • A buy one get one free
  • Show how the product or service will save the purchaser time

3. Encourage Action from Your Target Audience (Remind)

While encouraging your target audience may seem similar to persuading them to make a purchase, it goes further. It’s certainly true that using a buy one, get one FREE offer is encouragement, however, if you only advertise using one communication channel and only for a brief period, for example a one week period, you will see a drop in consumer interest and purchases. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. If the target audience does not know you exist or is not reminded often about your product, then chances are they will not remember to use your services.


The marketing communications plan consists of three important key objectives, create brand awareness (inform), define a fulfilling need for your product or service (persuade), and encourage action from your target audience (remind). While these three key objectives are important in defining your marketing communication goals, there’s a lot more that goes in to the Marcomm plan. More in depth research has to be conducted on your target audience prior to developing any marketing communications plan and message delivery. While the cost of informing your target audience about your product or services can be high, there are more affordable solutions, like social media and web based marketing that can help reach your target group.


How to Design A Coupon for A Sales Promotion

Coupons are an all time favorite among consumers. A coupon is the most basic form of a sales promotion, and often part of a retail store or restaurants marketing communications strategy. If used effectively, coupons can help generate business. This article focuses on how to design a coupon, as part of your sales promotion.

You do not need to be a graphic designer, but it is assumed that you have working knowledge of design programs, such as Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator, or QuarkXpress. For the most part, you could use Adobe Photoshop as well.

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Five Important Factors of Marketing Communications

Last updated: Oct 3, 2018 @ 12:56 PM

This blog posting will give you a brief, yet insightful list of the five important factors of marketing communications. Before you begin any marketing communications strategy, I suggest you first begin with a plan that includes an analysis of the five factors of marketing communications and how these factors will be part of your strategy.

You can look at these five factors as your blueprint for marketing communications success. Without understanding and implementing them, you are diminishing your chances of a focused and successful marketing campaign.  The five essential factors of marketing communications are persuasiongoal-directedcontact pointsstakeholders, and message. Read on to learn each of these factors.

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