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Accessing and Understanding Key Audiences Hero Image
How to Identify and Engage Elusive Targets

Accessing and Understanding Key Audiences

Business Services

Data scientists are a moving target. This title and role show a lot of variation across industries, with nuances in terms of the specific tasks and duties at play, and differences across individuals with the data scientist position. Moreover, there are people doing data scientist-type work, but who have different titles (e.g., quant analyst).

Our client – a global information services firm – is developing software and data products for the Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is targeted to data scientists and similar positions. To facilitate effective engagement, the client needed to understand what these professionals do, where they get their information, and how to reach them.

We worked with the client team to understand who the target is for the PaaS solution based on the work they do, not the title they have. We then deployed a three-phased research approach involving:

  1. A rigorous screening protocol using a battery of “tasks-performed” questions, along with a weighting of those tasks in terms of how much time they devote to each.
  2. Deep-dive interviews where we captured a holistic view of the individual. We mapped out each respondent’s day – what they are doing, tools they are using. We supplemented that with an empathy exercise where we explored their personal lives – values, family, interests, pet peeves, etc.
  3. Development of multiple personas, based on distinguishing characteristics – professional (work performed, motivations, ecosystem) and personal (values, aspirations, struggles).

In the end, the recruiting rigors helped with training the client’s sales team on how to find the types that can make a difference for their solution. The personas showed them what makes these targets tick, and how (resonant messaging, preferred communication channels) and where (trusted information sources) to talk to them by extension. It all made for a more efficient targeting effort to pressure test / market the PaaS solution.