The confluence of digital, mobile and social media with big data offers the possibility of addressing, targeting and engaging audiences and segments differently than ever before. Rather than try to psyche out prospects and target them by media use, careful analysis of consumer cohorts can suggest more organic, natural and genuine ways to reach and persuade prospects.
The difference is that rather than guess what a target audience is thinking and doing, we can now track them and either document or reasonably infer attitudes, mechanics and behavior. This requires thinking about what people do, think or relate to and what devices they use throughout a day or a week or a month. By building sophisticated profiles and personas of discrete audiences, we can create more resonant messages and deliver them at times and on devices or social platforms that are integral to customers’ normal behavior. Advertising no longer has to be a disruptive intrusion. Ads can become a useful value-add that inspires purchase and brand loyalty.
Consider the proverbial Soccer Mom. On a generic level, she’s 25-44, CFO of the household with a static and often stretched income. Chief decision-maker and principal shopper for a broad array of products and services, her smartphone is her life controller and her tablet is the source of “me time” entertainment, education and diversion. She probably works and is also the scheduler, driver and concierge for her kids. Her partner, her employer, her kids, her friends, neighbors, girlfriends and family plus every marketer wants her time, attention and budget.
But there are many flavors of Soccer Mom. Geography, ethnicity, health and education are variables that affect her outlook, coping or management style and preferences. To persuade her, layer in her taste in music, movies, books, games, food, décor, fashion and hobbies. First time moms have more energy, anxiety and information-seeking needs than moms of multiple kids. Lean-in moms think and act differently than traditional moms or moms who are also care givers for elderly parents. Triathlete or yoga moms have different agendas and priorities, as do moms of kids with ADHD.
Aggregating a wide range of data about moms, enables marketers to slice and dice the generic audience into discrete segments which can be addressed on their own terms in ways that authentically fit into their lifestyles and expectations. This engagement planning methodology blends traditional attitudinal market research with behavioral data to produce a richer, more insightful and practical picture of customers and prospects.
Understanding how real people think and act in real time drives a different way to attack creative development and media planning. A data-rich multi-dimensional, channel neutral perspective is the next big thing for savvy marketers and advertisers.