In PR Week, Tyler Pennock proposes that intent now overrides the traditional notion of using demographics to target messages:
In order to effectively communicate with audiences online, we have to move beyond understanding who they are, and begin tailoring the message to what they want. And we now have the ability to anticipate a user’s “want” or intent, with search engines serving as the gateway to most Web experiences. Delivering messages that align with that intent, at crucial moments, is key to engaging netizens.
As I read this article, I realized that I just spent the day trying to access information well outside what my own demographics might previct. I am a resident of Virginia, but am planning a family trip to New York and a youth choir trip to Georgia. I am looking for places to stay, things to do and-especially for the youth tour-places to eat. Although I am a savvy web user, I found that after many hours I had a hard time finding the information I need. Also outside my demographics, I am looking for resources for my 80 year old dad.
If only I had found websites tailored for people whose intent was to plan a bus tour or help an older person connect with suitable activities, my eyes would be a little less tired right now!