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5 Steps To Smart Targeting

According to Dr Carl Driesener from the EBI

We recently attended an interesting presentation hosted by Spark Media and delivered by Dr Carl Driesener from The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science. What we appreciate about their research studies is that it’s not based on what people say but what they actually do. So often consumers involved in a piece of research will tell you what they believe they do in certain situations but in real life their behavior doesn’t match up.

This time the topic was about ‘Smart Targeting’ and considering it’s an area we deal with in the digital world every day, we were all ears. If there is sound research out there to help us reach more of the right people for our client’s, then we were very happy to listen and learn. And what they had to share was very interesting because it turned what we all believe about segmentation on its head.

Creating opportunities for brands to sell more, involves 2 things

  • Mental Availability How quickly and often do people think about a particular brand.
  • Physical Availability How easy it is to find and ultimately buy a particular brand.

Without considering these 2 factors, a brand is dead in the water. So the question that relates to targeting your customers is how much mental availability does your brand have? Are you speaking to enough potential buyers or are you limiting yourself by taking segmentation too far?

So here are the EBI’s 5 steps to smart targeting.

Some final thoughts…

  • Rather target everyone in the category and try to reach as many people as possible with continuity.
  • Tap into the reasons people buy the category and craft campaigns around that.
  • Don’t get so distracted trying to appeal to a niche audience that you lose sight of what you actually do. Ever heard of ‘Joon’, an airline created for millennials? Probably not, because they lasted little over a year before operations shut down. Air France believed that millennials were so different from other passengers that they needed their own airline, so they created Joon. Turns out that millennials also just want to get from A to B quickly and safely. Check out their ad and if I hadn’t just told you that they’re an airline, you probably wouldn’t realise it.



Be inclusive rather than exclusive

Don’t be so focused on one particular group of people that your campaigns speak to exclusively to a small segment and ignore the rest. Doing this puts too much pressure on one group of people to buy and can either offend the rest or just make your brand unappealing or irrelevant to the majority.

Check your stereotypes

Determine your potential customers with data rather than guessing who you think they are. Consider that the smaller the target audience, the less opportunity there is to attract new customers. There’s nothing wrong with profiling potential groups of people but you don’t have to talk to them that differently. Also make sure that your strategy aims to reach your current customers frequently and in a relevant way.

Avoid the heavy buyer trap

Burger King made this mistake with their commercial ‘I am man’. It was targeted at men that ate at the food chain twice a week, which if you think about it wouldn’t be the majority of their customers. The fail here is that this target audience is already loyal and not likely to eat more of the brand than they already are – you don’t need to preach to the converted. The bulk of customers buy infrequently so it makes more sense to appeal to light buyers to encourage them to buy more often. Apparently the 80/20 is a fallacy because according to the EBI, the heavy 20% of buyers only contribute to 50-60% of sales. Brands grow and loose customers across the high and low buying spectrum so it’s important to keep reminding everyone that you’re around and available for them to choose you.

Buy media on reach

Narrow targeting will cause you to reach a lower percentage of who you are trying to reach. Be more concerned about reaching a broader audience (don’t be too concerned with a bit of wastage) because that is what will grow your brand’s mental availability.

Don’t sacrifice reach for engagement

The truth is people don’t care that much about brands that they take the time to share what they think about you anyway (unless they have a gripe and want your attention). So why not try this out as it makes no sense to sacrifice reach just to get some comments and shares from a small segment of people. The less people you reach means that a higher sales response is needed from those that you do reach. And if you’re not talking to potential customers then the chances are that your competitors are doing it instead. And we’ve come to realise that social media and programmatic buying aren’t delivering the promised target audiences anyway, so we can’t rely on their targeting tools.

So the big take out for us was that although segmentation is important to understanding groups of people, even more importantly is reaching as many people in your category as possible.