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The Holy Grail of marketing is within reach

The ability to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message has long been considered the Holy Grail of marketing. Unfortunately, the ability of businesses to achieve this has been largely hit and miss. Until now.

The rise of digital media and the power of data mining to provide businesses with more, and more useful, customer information has made it easier than ever before to ensure their marketing efforts hit all three ideals.

There is now a wide range of marketing targeting services that make it possible to identify potential customers with incredible precision, including by individual household if desired. The Google Marketing Platform promises to “reach your audience, wherever they are in the moment”, while information services company Experian says it has the ability to use demographic and other indicators to predict the life-stage of a household’s occupants or the likelihood of children at a specific address.

Even small businesses are sitting on a treasure trove of customer information that can be used to target their messaging. This might include postal and email addresses of customers and people who have made inquiries, the purchase history of people who have previously bought products or services, and even their age and gender (depending on what questions are asked at the time of purchase).

It’s also common for businesses to use tracking pixels on their websites so they can re-target people who have visited their website in the past via other channels, such as Facebook, Youtube, or Google’s Display Network.

Tools like these make it easy for marketers to reach those who are likely to be genuinely interested in your product or service. They enable businesses to target current and former customers based on their interests and what they have been looking at recently online. It’s easy to see how a retailer that gathers information about its customers’ dates of birth could, for example, send promotions to customers a week before their birthdays.

Digital marketing techniques can also be used to reach out to people who have never bought from you in the past or even visited your website. Google and Facebook enable businesses to deliver digital advertising and promotions to people based on where they live and what they are browsing online at the time. For example, a confectionary company could use information like that to target people in a specific country searching for Valentine’s Day gift ideas. This would be an easy way to reach potential buyers at “the right time” – they are already actively looking to buy a product or service of a kind you offer.

Of course, the third part of the well-known mantra involves reaching people “with the right message”. Again, digital marketing and data mining can help. Google AdWords allows people to create multiple variations of advertisements and then to measure their success and tailor them based on which ones have the most impact. The same is true of email marketing programmes like MailChimp. By following a process known as A/B testing, marketers can send variations of a marketing message to randomly selected members of the same target audience and evaluate which messages are resonating the most. Over time, this enables marketers to hone the perfect message to engage a specific audience segment.

The benefit of targeting your marketing in this way is a greater return on your investment. Reaching the right people ensures you aren’t wasting money on marketing to people who are unlikely to have an interest in your product or service. Reaching them at the right time improves the chances they will be susceptible to your message. And reaching them with the right message makes it more likely that they will sit up and take notice, whether you are selling a product or service for profit, or running a public education campaign.

James Heffield
James Heffield
Director of Bay of Plenty marketing and public relations consultancy Last Word. To find out more visit www.lastwordmedia.co.nz or email james@lastwordmedia.co.nz.

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