Consumers are presented with as many as 3,000 ads per day. It’s no wonder that they’ve learned to ignore them completely. That’s why the future of marketing depends on ads that add value.
Rather than guessing what a target audience is thinking and doing, marketers can now pinpoint exactly what they’re reading, watching, or buying online. By building sophisticated profiles and personas of discrete audiences, we can create more resonant messages and deliver them at times and places 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.
Know Your Audience
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 has a full-time job and is also the scheduler, driver, and concierge for her kids. Her partner, employer, kids, friends, neighbors, and family are all vying for her attention and time. Marketers don’t stand a chance, especially when they’re also asking for a piece of her budget.
But there are many flavors of Soccer Mom. 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. Other variables include geography, ethnicity, health, and education.
Value Drives Engagement
To persuade and engage with these moms, marketers must first understand and account for their lifestyles. All of that digital data I mentioned above can be used to slice and dice the generic Soccer Mom audience into discrete segments. Marketers can then deliver ads that play to these moms’ taste in music, movies, books, games, food, décor, fashion, and hobbies. This engagement planning methodology blends traditional attitudinal market research with behavioral data to produce a richer, more insightful picture of customers and prospects.
This approach is already driving change in the ad industry. The explosion of content marketing is a perfect example. To capitalize on this trend, media brands like Forbes and Hearst have opened branded content studios. These studios function like internal ad agencies with one notable exception — they deliver content that mirrors the editorial side of their businesses in terms of style and quality. This content is highly targeted and provides the user with the same value they expect from this media brands. The only difference is that the branded content is sponsored by — well — a brand.
Understanding how real people think and act offers marketers a different way to attack creative development and media planning. A data-rich, multidimensional, channel-neutral approach is the next big thing for savvy marketers and advertisers.