- By Nick Frost
Conversations between agencies and their clients have become increasingly complex with the advent of digital marketing platforms. Agency leaders always have to stay in-the-know on what’s happening in each demographic to give their clients great advice, and help generate successful campaigns.
What’s more, as digital becomes more and more influential across consumer categories, agencies have access to a wealth of information about consumers and their behaviors. But what information should you use, and how? This is the tricky part. While there is a ton of data and out there for you to share with your clients, it’s important to take a careful approach to ensure campaigns remain targeted, authentic, and effective.
The challenge of demographics
Today, most agencies have fully embraced the fact that digital means creating the best consumer paths. They recognize that it is the linchpin to successfully hitting their clients’ consumer targets.
Demographics are a funny thing, though. Some people will tell you that the right data can be reasonably mined to predict the behaviors of any group of people; others argue that marketing to large, diverse groups of people won’t give your clients the conversion rates they’re looking for.
The thing to remember here is that numbers alone almost never tell the whole story. Don’t deny their importance, but also don’t let your client believe they have their consumers “figured out” without first diving deeper and contextualizing their data.
“But That Doesn’t Speak to Me…!”
If there’s one thing we can all agree most people resent, it’s being pigeonholed by stereotypes.
One example that comes up often in marketing is generational stereotyping. Gen X hated it. The Boomers hated it. (And their parents and their parents’ parents…) Most recently, of course, it’s been well documented that Millennials haven’t been too keen on how they’re viewed either.
Some clients can be very stubborn about stereotyping. Too many have misguidedly thought their brand was going to win over entire generations, it seems, because the numbers simply acted a vessel for their preconceived notions. This doesn’t just apply to age, either — gender, race, location, income, education and others all have stereotypes that are carelessly acted upon and justified internally with the most surface-level demographics stats.
As your clients’ digital guru, it’s your job is to bring them deeper data and insights that will force them refine the way they target their consumer base.
And here’s how to do it.
When we say “deeper data,” this goes well beyond your Webster’s Dictionary definition of the people you’re targeting. Use analytics from search engines to help clients learn the interests of specific individuals and to cater more precise messages to these precise groups of people. Find out what digital platforms people are using and help clients create campaigns optimized per-platform. Discover where your client’s target customers go, how they shop, how often they shop — ask as many of the five Ws on the subject as possible — and create customer journeys based on data that reflects that.
If you’re marketing to, say, teenagers or young adults, and have never felt compelled to recommend Snapchat as a medium, keep in mind that 71% of Snapchat’s users are under the age of 34, and that 41% of the platform’s daily reach comes from users between 18–34.
That doesn’t mean your client needs to fill up their messaging with “dank memes” and peace-signed selfies set in front of street art. Rather, it simply means that the approach to these people with your on-brand message in this particular setting because they’re there and they might take notice. More brands than ever are openly touting “authenticity” as something they want to reflect, and now is the time to do it — Gen-Z consumers have serious buying power, and they’ll readily ditch a brand if it loses their trust.
Going off of the Snapchat example, considering using something like location data to create geo-targeted fencing around a certain area and hone your campaign in on users who will be most likely to engage with specific locations.
- Educate your clients about data that digs deeper
- Always stay away from stereotypes; use platform-specific data to target wisely
- Give your clients resources to equip them for success: this means offering tools and campaign ideas that will target customers effectively and efficiently.