The (perhaps misguided) perception that Software or Handware can be targeted and constrained to specific demographic. Typically used in comparison of competitors, as in "their target audience is the male geek, aged 17 to 34, not married, disposable income, where our target audience are beautiful punk girls who love geeks. "

A term used in the world of advertising and in military PSYOP to describe a group of people who share common goals and vulnerabilities. Target Audiences (TA's) generally fall into four types and seven groups:

Target Audience Types:

Apparent Audience: This is the audience who appears to be targeted by a product (ie, adults for tobacco adds)

Intermediate Audience: An audience who serves to pass a message along to a desired audience (ie, children who see toy commercials, then go bug their parents to buy them. In this case the child is the intermediate audience)

Unintended Audience: These are target audiences who are not targeted by a perticular product, but will receive the message nonetheless (This happened alot in Kosovo with messages of preference targeted towards ethnic Albanians that were also received with civil unrest by ethnic Serbians)

Ultimate Audience: These are the audiences who are actually targeted by a perticular product (ie, children with tobacco adds)

Types of TA Groups

Primary Groups: A small social group whose members share personal and enduring relationships. Examples: A family, a tight-knit ressistance cell, many fraternal groups whose bond goes beyond a common goal.

Secondary Groups: A group who shares a common goal(s), but have differing ideas on how to go about acheiving it/them. A large and impersonal group whose members pursue a specific interest or activity. Examples: Any political party, most insurgencies and pretty much any group affiliation that falls short of any real fraternal bond.

Catagories: A group of people who share some demographic similarities; Race, sex, religion, profession, etc etc. Examples: White males computer geeks, aged 18-22 in the Silicon Valley area. All Serbians in the balkan region.

Aggregates: Collection of people identified by a common geographical area. This is the least desirable type of TA, as it's members share no bond beyond their current location, and the differences within the Audience can (and usually are) quite vast. Examples: Everyone in the Seattle area, everyone in Porte Prince (the capital of Haiti).

Key Communicators:Individuals to whom members of the Target Audience turn to for information, opinions or interpretation of information. It should be noted that a key communicator is different from a center of gravity in the sense that key communicators act as an intermediate audience, in the sense that they act as individuals who can pass a message on to an ultimate audience. Examples: A labor organizer, Public Relations representatives, chairman of any organization/foundation (could also fall into center of gravity, depending upon arrangement of aforementioned organization/foundation)

Center of Gravity: People with great power in their sphere of influence. Can oftentimes be hard to access. Can also be a small group of people. Examples: Bill Gates, any "ruling council" of a military junta (the word junta literally means "together"), A local resistance figurehead/outspoken dissedents (they can also function as key communicators depending upon the situation).

Crowds: A temporary cluster of people who may or may not interact at all. Crowds usually share the vulnerability of "safety" at any given time. Examples: Hordes of protestors mixed in with businessfolk, observing the protests. Even though the protestors and the businessfolk do not at all share the same goals, tear gas affects them both just the same.

It should be noted that the term "Target Audience", has fallen out of favor with the Department of Defense, due to it's insidious intonations, much like propaganda. So the term has been dropped in favor of "Key Audiences", in official documentation. The term "Target Audiences" though, is still used internally by most military PSYOP organizations.

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