With the explosion of technology and data, consumers are demanding personalized communications from the brands they choose to purchase from. Hey, we’re all a little guilty! I want timely and relevant communications, and I want them to provide valuable information to me.
To connect authentically with consumers, brands need access to high-quality, meaningful audience insights. The brands that leverage audience insights, generated by data, have a deeper understanding of their target consumer and know how to implement strategies that resonate. If you’re not already convinced of this, we’ve broken down the five undeniable reasons why you need to invest in data-driven audience insights, and guess what? We’re throwing it back to grade school by exploring the “who, what, when, where, and why.”
“Insights, at the end of the day, are the currency that we operate on.”
– Chad Stoller, EVP, Global Innovation at IPG Mediabrands
1. Know Who You Are Reaching
It is no longer enough to describe your audience by demographics alone (i.e., “men aged 18 to 25”). Brands are swimming in consumer data: social data, cookie data, transactional data—the list goes on. But much of this data lacks true insight and leaves brands wondering, “Who is in my audience?”
Perhaps a portion of your audience loves surfing, and another portion are hardcore ski bums. Or perhaps you are attracting a hidden niche audience. Without the right tools to derive these audience insights from your data, brands are in the dark. A true understanding of your audience should be the backbone of every strategy.
2. Know What They Want
Remember how I mentioned I want timely and relevant communications from brands, and I want them to provide valuable information to me? It turns out I’m not alone. 48 percent of Americans expect brands to know who they are and help them to further discover new products or services that fit their needs. This is the “what.”
A huge part of connecting with consumers is knowing what they want to hear. What do you have the authority to speak about? What content and topics are already resonating with your ideal consumer? What influencers or events peak their interest that you could share with them? What products or services do they expect from brands? All of these answers can be derived from consumer data.
48% of Americans expect brands to know who they are and help them discover new products or services.
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3. Know When to Communicate
Another reason to invest in data-driven audience insights is knowing when customers want to hear from you. There are tools that can tell you the optimal times to schedule content based on your audience’s habits, to ensure that when you do share content, you’re maximizing your results.
4. Know Where They Want to See You
Go where your audience is. Understanding where to deploy a marketing campaign (or any communications for that matter) is critical to its success. Why spend your time promoting your content on Facebook if your ideal target audience spends the majority of their time on Twitter? What about publications? While your audience may be avid Huffington Post readers, perhaps your audience would be better served through niche publications. A campaign will only be effective if your audience can access your content with ease.
5. Know Why They Want to Hear from You
Perhaps the most compelling reason of them all. Why are audiences attracted to your brand? Is it purely the features and services? Or is there an important emotional connection that draws them in? The answers relate back to reason number one—”who”—and understanding audience segments intimately. When you understand the individuals within your audience, you can quickly discover why they have an affinity towards your brand.
Here’s a small case study: Using Affinio, the marketing intelligence platform, we analyzed the audience of a well-known outdoor gear brand. The audience segmented into numerous, naturally-forming audience segments, each with their reason for being attracted to the brand. Two of the segments were vastly different: skiers and surfers. The reasons why they each wanted to hear from the brand was different. Both segments have very different needs and interests and, therefore, expectations of the communications they will receive.
Data-Driven Audience Insights Are Table Stakes
Today, marketing is all about understanding consumer culture. Gone are the days of vague, all-encompassing labels to define a homogeneous audience. We now live in a world where multiple consumer groups exist, each with unique behaviors, preferences, and cultural beliefs that are subject to change in an instant. Brands need to be empowered with high-quality, data-driven audience insights to connect with their target market authentically.
Let me leave you with this: Does your consumer data answer the who, what, when, where, and why?
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