If your marketing isn’t working, it’s because you may not know who you’re talking to. After all, if you don’t know your audience, how can you know what they want to hear about?
The ability to identify the audience you’re speaking to is the single most important requirement for any effective marketing campaign. Of course, identification is no easy task, and we have to keep in mind that identification has to be balanced with a desire to maintain high standards of consumer privacy.
Identification of your audience can be accomplished using many different methods on individual channels, but unifying that view and recognizing the consumer across channels and devices is where most marketers are still unsuccessful. It’s not because the tools don’t exist (they do). It’s because the methodology is intimidating and most marketers don’t know how to implement the tools and technology to make it happen. There are numerous ways to generally identify a consumer, and they run the full spectrum of detail. Cookies, registration ID’s, Household ID’s, device ID’s and statistical ID’s are among the most prevalent, and each of these can be aggregated together in a way which anonymizes the consumer and provides a degree of privacy while still providing the ability to determine if that ID belongs to an existing customer, a qualified prospect or a non-prospect audience. Fundamentally, those 3 segments are the core of what you should be evaluating because it creates significant efficiency in your efforts. For an existing customer, you should be delivering an upsell or retention message. For a qualified prospect, you should be delivering a conversion-oriented message. For a non-prospect customer, you should be suppressing them and eliminating them from your targeting so as not to waste dollars. Just implementing these 3 segmentations can deliver significant value, having an immediate impact on your entire campaign and simplifying your efforts. Plus, these 3 segments are easily digestible for the entire marketing audience. It’s a natural, basic place to start.
Identification doesn’t mean you literally have to ID the person you’re speaking to. Identification means something simpler – more focused on broad stroke understanding of the people you are speaking to. It refers to knowing something about the person you are talking to and it’s the basis for any effective relationship. In the real world, you may not know someone’s name but that doesn’t stop you from having a conversation that can be customized based on the context and what you know about him or her while they’re with you in a common setting. Identification based on behavior and location is likely more valuable than identification based on demographic data. Just because someone is male or female, or of a certain age, doesn’t mean you know and understand them. The intricacies of human understanding can be found in the knowledge of behaviors, and understanding what your audience likes, dislikes and is genuinely interested in will provide significantly more value. For example, someone who searches for “cars” may be in market, or they may simply be an aficionado and how you use that context will dramatically impact how you market to them. You can start with some personalization based on that initial behavioral info, but multiple dimensions of behavior provides you with more detail and therefore more opportunity to identify their motivations and become more granular over time. The challenge is if you don’t learn across channels, then you can’t create that single view of the customer and you can’t target effectively, meaning you aren’t doing a great job of identification.
Identifying who you are talking to and using that information, plus context, to deliver a personalized message, is key to your success going forward. Don’t you agree?