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Understanding Your Target Consumer

The case for utilizing traditional and non-traditional data

8May

Any digital marketer’s ultimate goal is to increase sales for a particular brand or retailer, but targeting the right consumer can be a difficult task. Traditional demographics, like gender, age and marital status, are not enough to properly assess a person’s buying potential. Consumers are diverse, their lifestyle and behavior not necessarily linked to their age or gender. And with a wealth of online and brick-and-mortar retailers to choose from, they demand more for their money and more from customer service. Vying for a customer’s business, however, becomes a lot easier when your marketing material is geared toward the right audience. By taking the time to analyze consumers’ behaviors and personalities, marketers can target consumers more effectively and efficiently.

Out with the Old… But Not Completely

It goes without saying that traditional demographics still have a role to play in contemporary marketing. After all, people who live near the beach will be in need of beach supplies whether or not their personality is similar to that of their neighbors. But not all demographics are as black and white as location. John Forsyth, partner at Forsythe Insights LLC, demonstrates the problem with traditional analytics by citing the obvious personality differences between Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne. Both men are British and the same age, but marketing to them in the same way is an obvious mistake, as one is the heir to the British throne and the other a rock star. In other words, their distinctive personalities and behavior alone are reason enough to target them separately.

In with the New

A consumer’s behavior can provide marketers a wealth of information, from shopping habits to favorite restaurants, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Data companies can offer marketers a wealth of information learned from multiple platforms, including social media, mobile, email, direct mail, and apps. By the year 2020, experts estimate 'about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.' And while 2020 may be four years away, there is still an incredible breadth of data that can be tapped at this very moment.

A customer’s personality and values drive their economic decisions, and when marketers take the time to truly understand their audience, they can identify specific needs and locate look-alike audiences with similar characteristics. Advertisers and retailers can also give their respective brands informed suggestions about what products and services to offer their customers next.

The Next Phase in Targeting

'With many companies struggling with online – and offline, for that matter – conversion rates,' says writer Jessica Carter, 'It’s crucial that they start to understand better what makes consumers tick (or click, as the case may be).' When marketers know what makes a customer 'tick,' they can approach consumers from a variety of angles, from customized social media ads to personalized emails with coupons for a specific item.

When you add real-time targeting to the equation, the data becomes even more valuable. Brands can find consumers shopping for their products and services moments after they begin to browse online. But that’s only the half of it; marketers learn not only what consumers want at a specific moment, but they can influence where and when their audience gets the product or service.

While marketers may feel overwhelmed by the amount of data available, taking advantage of the newest innovations in consumer identification while incorporating the best of traditional targeting is key to creating exciting campaigns that will keep customer interest—and revenue—on the up and up.

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