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An example sentence from a market research company's website:

Having established relationships with departmental heads of such organizations helps us better target (the) desired audiences.

(I've reworked the sentence a bit; it says "required audiences" in the original)

The page makes no mention of the type of the audiences nor in any other way specifies them. Is the definite article needed there?

I've found instances of the desired audiences phrase being used without an article as well as with the definite article at Google Books:

  • If they fail to supply desired audiences, we should not consider them. If they do offer desired audiences, several additional considerations must enter the decision process.

  • By filtering viewers, controlling the frequency of ad exposures, and correctly positioning the ads within Web site pages, online ads can be a very cost-effective way to reach desired audiences.

and

MEDIA: A channel of communication enabling the organization to reach the desired audiences. Important external audience made up of local and national press; trade, technical, professional press; radio, television, that is all those who report corporate happenings to their audience. (link)

Why does the latter quote use the definite article? Is it because the exact nature of the audiences is pointed out in the subsequent sentence?

  • In these examples, "desired audiences" doesn't seem to be specific (definite), so I think "the" is not necessary. However, in the first quote, they may have used "the" because they had a specific goal/type of desired audience in mind. Do you have a source or additional context? – user3169 Sep 20 '14 at 4:17
  • They do not share any specifics regarding the "audiences". I've added the weblink to the website. – CowperKettle Sep 20 '14 at 4:34
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    The original sentence looks weird to me :( – Maulik V Sep 20 '14 at 5:10
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    The page you linked to at the top of your question does seem to contain non-native English. – snailplane Sep 20 '14 at 6:12
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While talking about targeted customers/clients in general, the definite article is not required.

All the instances of Google Books are fine and support what I said.

Another good example is from the CNN Money

Submissions were selected based on their ability to stand out in the complex, ever-changing healthcare environment, and were judged on content, format, success in reaching targeted audience and overall quality.

My opinion about the latter example is the desired audience is addressed in the following sentence/s. Maybe, that's the reason it has taken the definite article. I may think of an example...

The government is thinking to honor the sportspersons. The sportspersons may include players of football teams, cricket teams and hockey teams.

Sportspersons are specific as they are later defined or at least addressed.

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