Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Todd Swift, Regional Program Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources/4-H and Youth Development, South Region, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Scott Cummings, Associate Department Head and Program Leader; Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
A critical step in the PIE Program Change Model (Figure 1) is to diagnose relevant factors including the target audience . If our audience is not established appropriately, the educational effort will have limited effectiveness (Ripley, Cummings, Lockett, Pope, Wright, Payne, Kieth & Murphrey, 2011). Identifying the audience correctly can help narrow the program’s educational content and focus our marketing efforts (Ripley et al., 2011).
Figure 1. PIE Program Change Model.
Before a program can be developed, Extension educators need to know who their audience is (Ripley et al., 2011). According to Seevers and Graham (2012), people in your target audience have different needs and desires concerning programming. Some needs and desires, or factors, are listed in Figure 2 (Seever & Graham, 2012).
As you read through the listed factors, think about the audience of one of your programs. Do you know their average age, ethnicity, or attitudes? These are all factors you should be aware of to accurately identify your target audience and deliver a successful educational program.
Figure 2. Factors Influencing Clientele Needs and Desires.
Different audiences may need different approaches or levels of information on a particular subject or issue (Ripley et al., 2011). For example, a group of crop consultants would potentially require a different level of programming than a crop producer, or, a nutrition program targeting registered dietitians could require a different level of programming than the general public. To paint an even better picture, a program designed for eight-year-old children would probably not appeal to teenagers (Seever & Graham, 2012).
To provide the correct level of educational material to your target audience, several key questions can be helpful. The questions and examples listed below, should be asked and addressed during the program planning phase of the PIE Program Change Model (Seever & Graham, 2012).
1. Who are the people affected by the problem or issue? What different audiences need to be addressed?
A need has been identified for programming concerning water conservation. Possible audiences
to target to effectively address different dimensions of the problem are;
Note: This issue could be multi-dimensional targeting multiple audiences or could focus
exclusively on one audience.
2. What are the specific characteristics of the audience that impact how to plan and
3. What skills/strengths might your target audience have that programming can
further develop and/or enhance?
4. What timing factors are important to consider for various groups?
Other factors that should be considered include the following (Ripley et al., 2011):
These may seem like logical factors and questions that should be considered (Seever & Graham, 2012) when knowing your audience. However, if these factors are identified correctly Extension Educators can greatly enhance participation and program effectiveness (Seever & Graham, 2012).
Ripley, J., Cummings, S, Lockett, L., Pope, P., Wright, M., Payne, M., Kieth, L., & Murphrey, T. (2011). Creating Excellent Programs. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Publication. E-345. Retrieved from http://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/od/files/2010/03/E345.pdf
Seevers, B., & Graham, D. (2012). Education through Cooperative Extension. (3rd ed.). Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Bookstore.