August 01, 2021

Smarter Consumer Targeting: The Art of Putting People First


As we’ve seen over the last year, the world can change on a dime. With life being as fluid as it is, consumer behavior and engagement can also change rapidly and without notice. Spending hours crafting those ever-so-detailed avatars for consumer targeting begs the question – how well do you really know your customers? Why are they buying? What’s keeping them coming back to your business? And, if they’re not coming back, what’s causing them to go elsewhere?

Putting people first, rather than profiles, gives you the chance to account for these changes as they happen, increasing retention and brand loyalty. Data, technology, and processes unite to help crack the code behind shifting consumer decision-making.

Data: Figuring It All Out

Demographics tend to get all the hype when it comes to customer data. Sure, you know your consumers’ ages, locations, gender, and ethnicity. But, what else do you know? Static data like these only goes so far. It captures a moment in time, a customer operating in a particular channel. These insights give us a chance to make inferences and decide what to do next, but they do not allow us to see the full picture of consumer decision-making. Demographic data points may even cause groups of people to appear as one entity, rather than the individuals they are!

Here’s where the idea of effective segmentation for consumer targeting comes in. For this, there are important psychographic elements to consider that simply cannot be found through demographic data. These seemingly small nuances include:

Personal Values

A person’s values are made up of beliefs and goals that transcend specific situations to motivate behavior. Maybe your consumers are thrill-seekers, always looking for that next adventure. Or perhaps they crave power and influence, or are filled with the hunger to make the world a better place. Having an understanding of your customers’ values will allow you to craft messaging that draws them in and keeps them captivated.

Psychological Drivers

Many good marketers have an understanding of consumer psychology. Certain concepts may push your audience in the direction you want, so tap into their sense of loss aversion by offering free trials or money-back guarantees. Give your consumers a goal to work for, whether that’s a punch card or a loyalty program. Advocate for social inclusion by displaying and encouraging positive reviews.

Consumer Targeting Preferences

This is your chance to figure out exactly how to reach your audience. If your content distribution, messaging, and efforts match your consumers’ preferences, they’re more likely to engage (and continue engaging) with your business. These inclinations can include:

  • User experience – do they want something intuitive, or something more technical with a wider range of capabilities?
  • Convenience – are you offering incentives such as fast delivery and one-click ordering to streamline the consumer process?
  • Communication – what kind of approach works best for your audience? Do they gravitate towards formal, straightforward language, or do they invest themselves in a brand’s story?
  • Effort – how far are they willing to go to engage?
  • Sensory – what kind of look and feel seems to resonate with them?
  • Service – are customers looking for stellar service they’ll be sure to tell their friends about, or do they just need answers yesterday?
  • Time – when do they want it? Are they more partial to shorter, snappier messaging, or do they take their time to make careful decisions?
  • Values – are consumers actively looking for a brand’s mission statement?
  • Risk – does your audience enjoy taking up new things, trying new brands, and stepping out of their comfort zones?
  • Customer experience – from the very first moment, how does the consumer feel about what you’re putting out? What are their thoughts on the customer journey you’ve crafted?

Media Consumption

Media consumption varies largely across consumer groups, especially generationally. How does your audience prefer to get their information? Maybe they’re avid news watchers or readers. Perhaps they prefer a long scroll on their favorite social networking platform. Once you learn your consumers’ media consumption habits, you can place ads where you know they’ll be seen by the right people.

Technology: Building the Consumer Targeting Dream Machine

Much like people and their buying habits, the world of technology is always on the move. This thriving entity requires marketers to stay on top of what’s new, and the best ways to use it within your data mix. All of this change requires continuous market research to produce fresh data that allows for the most accurate segmentation possible. As new software tools become available, you’ll want to work to enable seamless data integration.

Once you learn about your consumers as individuals, it becomes easier to effectively segment your audience and build a strong communication plan that’ll hit the target every time. This will also help you scale up; you’ll know exactly where to look to find consumer look-alikes who may have just been waiting for a business like yours. Optimization is key, and the right technology can help you do just that!

Process: Get That Plan of Action in Place

So, now that you have all of the research completed and the proper technology in place, what’s next? Implementation. Apply new types of segmentation to your mobile app or CRM to create targeted, personalized campaigns. You can even take it a step further and build personalization into the app itself or add a unique greeting to your website that acknowledges them by name.

Efforts such as these can result in increased website visits, conversions, and consumer retention. Additionally, there is no longer a need for proxy audiences, since your customers are being driven to the channels where they’ll be most visible to you: your demand-side platform, your social media, and OTT.

It’s time to start delivering the right message, to the right people, in the right way with the right consumer targeting strategy. As you build out your segmentation using the first- and third-party data you have, you’ll learn how to integrate it properly, accelerating data insights into action. Choosing to market to dynamic, living people, rather than static profiles, allows you to build lasting relationships on the foundation of brand loyalty.

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