Forbes Agency Council
Successful PR, media strategy, creative and advertising executives from Forbes Agency Council share trends and tips.
Years ago, a “one size fits all” approach to marketing was the standard. But with the vast amounts of customer data and feedback platforms available today, personalization is the name of the game. Customers want to know that you’re listening to them and providing an experience that speaks to their needs — and that requires taking different approaches to different audience groups.
If you’re ready to start refining your audience targeting strategy, consider the following 13 tips from members of the Forbes Agency Council.
1. Work Backward And Target One Person First
We build a persona as if targeting a single individual first. What do they look like? Where do they shop? What do they eat? What music do they love? From here, we work backward and start scaling and testing. It’s easier to find an audience in this manner than to start too broad and spend months scaling down. – Bernard May, National Positions
2. Take Advantage Of Lookalike Audiences
We target high-performing influencer content to a particular audience segment, but then watch as folks click on that content. We make a Custom Audience out of the “clickers” and then target lookalikes of them. We’ve found that people who look like those who engaged initially convert at a much higher rate than any other target audience. It’s a strong argument against “set it and forget it.” – Jim Tobin, Carusele
3. Offer Plenty Of Choices
I think one of the greatest mistakes that firms make (enabled by their marketing department and agencies) is over-segmenting their campaigns, products and offerings. While data and even artificial intelligence can inform marketing of expected/prior behavior, I believe that today’s consumers want to choose what they want and when they want it, without being served something created just for them. – April Joy Rudin, The Rudin Group
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4. Speak To The Customer’s Journey
The first thing is to map out your customer’s journey. Then, create educational content they can interact with. Now build custom audiences that help them move throughout their journey. Be relevant to them while being omnipresent so they see you everywhere. All marketing has to be relevant, and by knowing your customer’s journey, you can use storytelling to create intimacy and familiarity. – Imran Tariq, WebMetrix Group LLC
5. Create Alignment With Their Holistic Personal Narratives
We look at potential clients in a holistic, personal way. This means we consider things that may not be directly related to them hiring us — things that are indicative of the kinds of people who resonate with our message. For example, people involved with charity, animal advocates, environmentally conscious organizations, etc. We approach them as a whole person. – Drew Gerber, Wasabi Publicity, Inc.
6. Create Personas Based On Your Existing Customers
We implemented the inbound marketing principle and have been testing it out on ourselves and clients. We craft personas based on our existing customers that help us reach our ideal audiences more effectively. This is scalable, personal and, most importantly, effective. We’ve generated more leads from our content marketing efforts over the past few months than at any other point in our history. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
7. Define Your Audience’s Goals, Opportunities And Challenges
The best approach I’ve seen is building an ideal client profile that contains a description of their top goals, opportunities and challenges. Then, create content that gives your best advice about how to address those three things. This creates a completely scalable approach to audience targeting that realizes meaningful engagement. When you talk about what matters to ideal clients, they cannot resist it. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
8. Leverage Unbranded Social Communities
Targeting an audience by building and/or participating in unbranded social communities can be a strategic advantage. Both B2C and B2B decision makers want to engage and learn from peers, and Facebook or LinkedIn Groups provide that forum. Brands can then listen and participate, and over time they can activate this audience in a way that paid social targeting cannot. – Brian Walker, AE Marketing Group
9. Communicate With Audiences Based On Behavioral Preferences
We support behavior changing through communication. This can be achieved by organizing customers into behavioral categories and personalizing campaigns based on behavior preferences. For example, a “playful” behavior segment will respond better when everything is presented in a playful style that aligns with their own, while “analytic” behavior segments want clear statements. – Elizabeth Edwards, Volume Public Relations
10. Focus On Life Moments
By focusing more on the important decisions that someone might need to make at a specific point in their life instead of making generalizations based on how old they are, we can create more meaningful connections with individuals. This also allows content to be more focused on the motivations behind the actions we want someone to take than other, more traditional approaches. – Greg Kihlstrom, Yes& Agency
11. Create Categories Of Buyers
Many platforms are built to deliver the promise of one-to-one marketing, but the reality is many segments of customers will respond to customized ads. Instead of trying to drill down to the individual, find different categories, be it B2B or B2C, C-level or procurement, etc., and create content that resonates with each group. Personalize this. The individual level simply isn’t scalable. – Dan Golden, Be Found Online
12. Automate Marketing Where You Can
With all the technology we have at our disposal, we’d be negligent not to employ it for the furthering of our message as well as better targeting of our audience. Marketing automation tools make it much more manageable to create and syndicate content that is on target, down to the individual level. Dynamic content, personalized emails, conditional workflows — it’s all inside and it works. – Ricardo Casas, Fahrenheit Marketing
13. Sell To Your Early Adopters And Loyal Customers First
Following the 80/20 rule of marketing, we try to identify audience members who are most likely to become early adopters of our brand. From here, we can execute lookalike audiences in Facebook advertising, as well as leverage other platforms our audience engages with and target people with similar needs. These customers lead us to similar ones in need of our services and give us plenty of referrals. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com