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Understanding Intent vs Impact in the World of Marketing

Understanding Intent vs Impact in the World of Marketing

It is important to understand your audience and how their preferences can widen the gap between “intent” and “impact” in your marketing campaigns. Intent refers to everything which you have complete control over: font selection, color choice, choice of words--you name it--everything you can choose to do with your marketing. Impact, on the other hand, is something totally different. Every effort you make to better understand these two concepts is going to be vital to your marketing success moving forward.

It Is a Matter of Perspective

In the end the main difference between intent and impact comes down to perspective; and the acknowledgement that the meaning marketing message is not necessarily “black and white” as you may have imagined.

It is important that your knowledge of your audience extends all the way to knowing how they think and perceive things.

That’s why before you send out any marketing you better keep in mind answers to the following questions:

  • Are there different understandings for certain terms in my message in different regions of the country? Would this message be received on the coasts as it would be received in middle America? What difference would that make, if any, on the way my message would be received?
  • Are there differences in pain points among my audience? Is one pain point so specific to a group that it does not bother the others at all? What is the impact of economic status on how a particular message may be received?
  • Is there any way in which the culture could affect the impact of the message in a way that is different from the original intent? Are there any cultural norms which might impact the way audiences in, say, Europe will receive a message as opposed to how it will be received in the US?

Even if you are not a global company you should try to adopt an approach that considers many perspectives.

This will lend you insight into the various perspectives of the audience you are trying to reach--something which has the potential to make your marketing efforts avoid problematic issues and resonate more.

At the end of the day you can look at intent and impact like this:

Intent is the thing you were trying to do when you wrote your marketing message or the goal you were trying to accomplish. Impact, on the other hand, is what you actually did--which is itself influenced many different factors.

Sometimes a message you thought was stellar ends up inspiring a completely unexpected reaction and those are the types of moments you should be ever ready to handle.

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