Demand Generation I-Kit for Underutilized, Life Saving Commodities

Step 3: Choose the Target Audience

Examples of audience segments and profiles for each of the commodities are provided below as illustrative examples. These examples should be adapted to the country context.

Segmenting the audience

Segmentation is the process of identifying unique groups of people, within larger populations, which share similar interests and needs relative to misoprostol, magnesium sulfate, and chlorhexidine. If the group shares common attributes, then the members are more likely to respond similarly to a given demand generation strategy. Segmenting allows for targeted use of limited resources to those populations that would most affect increased demand. It ensures that the activities developed and implemented are the most effective and appropriate for specific audiences and are focused on customized messages and materials.


While using the key findings collected from the situation analysis, the first step in audience segmentation answers the question, “Whose behavior must change in order to increase demand and appropriate use of the commodity?”

Primary audiences are the key people to reach with messages. These may be the people who are directly affected and who would directly benefit from the use of the commodity. Or they may be the people who can make decisions on behalf of those who would benefit from the commodity. Primary audiences may be further segmented into sub-audiences. For example, identifying specific segments of women of reproductive age who may share common attributes– such as young unmarried women, married women or high-parity women.

Influencing audiences are people who can impact or guide knowledge and behaviors of the primary audience, either directly or indirectly. Influencing audiences can include family members and people in the community, such as community leaders, but can also include people who shape social norms, influence policies, or affect how people think about the commodity. Prioritizing key influencing audiences by an estimated power of influence related to increasing demand and uptake of the commodity is crucial. For example, male partners are a likely key influencing audience, but the level of influence (low, moderate, strong) may depend on country context and/or commodity and should be discussed among stakeholders.

Primary or influencing audiences for demand generation may include national, sub-national or community-level decision-makers, such as legislators and religious leaders, as they can be instrumental in removing or creating access barriers or spreading misguided beliefs about the product. Involving decision makers and influencers from the political and media realm and carefully considering the legal and policy environment are important to ensure demand generation efforts are not hindered by political or social barriers. Scaling Up Lifesaving Commodities for Women, Children, and Newborns: An Advocacy Toolkit  provides advocacy resources to raise awareness and engage stakeholders in addressing commodity-related gaps in policy. Therefore, advocacy audiences are not included in the illustrative communication strategies provided here.

How to Segment Audiences

Initial segmentation is often based on demographics, such as: age, sex, marital status, education level, socio-economic status, employment, and residence (urban/rural). Audiences can be further segmented by psychographics, which refer to people’s personalities, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.

Developing an Audience Profile

Audience profiles are the cornerstone of a communication strategy. Audience profiles first help bring to life and personify each audience segment, which subsequently guide communication messaging and activity planning. The profile should embody the characteristics of the specific audience, with a focus on telling the story of an imagined individual within the group who can neutrally represent the intended audience. Basing decisions on a representative, personalized example from a specific audience segment rather than a collection of statistics or a mass of anonymous people allows for more intimate knowledge of that audience segment and better defined and focused communication strategies. Therefore, the profile is important to ensure the messages are tailored to members of this selected group, resonate with them, and motivate them to take action.

Audience profiles for each audience segment are developed using the information collected in the situation analysis. The profile consists of a paragraph that should include details on current behaviors, motivation, emotions, values, and attitudes as well as socio-demographic information such as age, income level, religion, sex, and place of residence. The profile should exemplify the primary barriers to the desired behavior relative to the audience segment. The profile may include the name of this individual or a photo that represents this person to help visualize who this person is and tell his or her story. If the information gathered in the situation analysis lacks detail on a particular audience segment, additional research may need to be conducted to address the identified gaps. For example, for all provider audiences, it may be especially important to conduct formative research around provider attitudes and other drivers to provider behavior that could be used to better inform the audience profile and strategic design.

Characteristics of a good audience profile

  • No two profiles will follow the same outline because the same data will not always be available for every 
group in every country.
  • The best profiles include qualitative research as a source. Qualitative research will generate a wealth of in-depth audience insight.
  • The profile should be a “living document”, meaning it is regularly updated when new information becomes available.


How to Use an Audience Profile?

As one of the cornerstones of the communication process, the audience profile helps guide our demand generation planning. For example, when making decisions about communication pieces or commodity distribution strategies, we should continually refer to the audience profile. The profile can aide in answering questions like:

  • Where will our target audience learn about misoprostol, magnesium sulfate, and
  • Would our target audience read about the evidence and treatment protocols for these
    commodities? How would they access such information?
  • Where would our target audience want to access maternal and neonatal health
  • Which of the determinants of behavior can we most effectively address?

Basing decisions on a representative example, the audience profile, from our target audience allows us to better define and focus demand generation strategies.



Illustrative Audience Segments and Profiles

Illustrative examples of audience segments and profiles are available for misoprostolmagnesium sulfate, and chlorhexidine. These should be adapted to the country context.

By clicking on the links above, you can view these examples by step either as a preview (which does not require download) or download in MS Word or PDF. A full version of each commodity strategy is also available under “Adaptable Strategies” in the right sidebar in MS Word or PDF formats. The full strategy includes both guidance and illustrative content for the entire strategy.

For more information on audience segments and profiles, refer to the additional resources provided.

About the Life-Saving Commodities in Maternal and Newborn Health Commodities

Misoprostol Magnesium Sulfate Chlorhexidine

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