Do you know who your customers are? Or do you just think you know?
Using targeting, segmenting and “lookalikes” to expand your reach.
Advertising has existed almost as long as human civilization. But for most of that time, companies had to rely on theories, opinions and rudimentary data to tell if their advertising was working.
Marketing research companies have been around quite a while. (Nielsen, which got its start measuring radio listeners in the 1920s, recently celebrated its 90th year in business.) Over the last several decades, the ability to possible to collect and measure consumer data on an individual level has advanced tremendously.
Technological advances have made it possible to collect data at every touch point, across multiple segments. In addition to standard demographic categories such as age, level of education, marital status and family size, we have the ability to figure out such elusive metrics like percentage of income spent in your product category, how far customers are willing to travel to make a purchase, and how many interactions typically happen before a sale is made.
Steve Fuller, Research Analyst at The Seattle Times, likes to ask potential advertisers “Do you know who your customers are, or do you just think you know?” We use a variety of methodologies to help our advertisers get a clearer idea of who is keeping them in business.
“Quite often, this is an eye opener,” says Fuller, explaining that businesses generally have several tiers of customers. “The occasional big spender will move the needle for one day,” he says, “but the small-ticket customer might be the one keeping the lights on.”
Discovering these “bread and butter” segments is an important step for any advertiser. Media and messaging that attract one audience may be ignored by another. Geographical location can also be crucial; for some purchases, convenience is key. Fortunately, The Seattle Times has the ability to segment customers by many criteria, including ZIP code or even street address. “Advertising effectiveness,” states Fuller, “hinges on getting your audience right.”
Segmenting can also help you identify your best audience of potential customers. We can extrapolate your segment information to create lookalikes; people who share the same traits as your customers, but have not yet entered your purchase funnel. Using proprietary third-party research tools, we can compare your list to established segments, broadening your reach while remaining tightly focused on your target.
Companies with a large customer database may find value in these tools, which we provide at no additional cost when preparing solutions for our advertisers.
For smaller companies, or new businesses, our advertisers benefit from a more hands-on approach. Target Marketing Consultant Jerry Gilbert prefers custom analysis, which he says can be more accurate in identifying audiences and lookalikes when there is little existing audience data available.
Custom analysis can also help clients get around marketing restrictions. “For example, healthcare advertisers are subject to HIPAA regulations. By creating a list of lookalikes, we can enable clients such as hospitals and medical clinics to market to potential patients without violating privacy laws.”
Healthcare isn’t the only regulated industry we can accommodate. The Seattle Times designs campaigns for businesses in the Washington state marijuana industry, who are not allowed to use the U.S. mail, advertise to underage customers, or promote their product outside the state. With tactics such as geofencing, along with strategic design and copywriting, we can help to ensure their messages reach only Washington state IP addresses, and do not appeal to children or teens.
What does customer targeting look like in a real-life situation? We asked Christine Sunde, Digital Specialist at The Seattle Times, about the campaign we developed The Seattle Foundation, which raises funds for a network of partner charities during GiveBIG, its annual online giving campaign.
“We took the GiveBIG donor list from the previous year and identified 20-25 audience categories, using a third-party lifestyle segmentation tool,” she said. The Seattle Foundation decided to focus on the top 10 categories to target with a multimedia advertising campaign.
The Seattle Times also ran their list through Facebook, with successful results. “We got a 50 percent match,” Sunde says. Armed with the new list of Facebook contacts, we created a list of lookalikes, then reached out to both groups with targeted newsfeed ads.
“Facebook works really well for donation-based campaigns,” Sunde tells us. “The ads can either bring targets to the advertiser’s website, or to a landing page where they can fill out a donation form.”
In addition to Facebook advertising, The Seattle Times ran print ads along with sponsored content and display ads in the Giving Guide, a biannual special section aimed at charitable donors. “Our readers are affluent, and tend to give generously to nonprofit organizations,” says Sunde, “so The Seattle Times was already a good fit for The Seattle Foundation. We were able to maximize this potential to deliver great results for the client.”
The Seattle Foundation agrees. “We had ambitious goals for GiveBIG this year, but thanks to The Seattle Times, we far exceeded them.”
2016 Pulse awards winners announced.
Hosted by the Puget Sound American Marketing Association, this year’s Pulse awards showcased the Puget Sound’s top marketing campaigns while honoring Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz, as its Marketing Legend. Winners included DNA for its “Happy to Help” campaign for Puget Sound Energy, Point It Digital Marketing for its PEMCO insurance campaign, Allison + Partners’ PR campaign for “Pop-In@Nordstrom,” and the Space Needle’s “Experience the Wow” campaign. The big winner of the evening was Hansen Belyea, with three awards, including the coveted People’s Choice, which it won for the second year in a row. See all the winners’ campaigns here
Marketing Events Calendar
Don’t miss these upcoming Seattle area marketing-focused events.
2016 Eastside Economic Forecast Breakfast
November 17, 7 – 8:30 a.m.
Hyatt Regency Bellevue – Grand Ballroom
900 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
American Advertising Federation Art Bash
November 17, 6-9 p.m.
415 Westlake Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Toast of Seattle
November 18, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Silver Cloud Hotel – Broadway
1100 Broadway, Seattle, WA, 98122
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Morning Business Builder
November 30, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Bellevue Chamber Office: Microsoft Business Center
330 112th Ave. NE, Suite 100, Bellevue, WA 98004
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce IN-NW Digital Innovation Series:
Creating a Successful Multi-Channel Strategy
December 1, noon – 1:30 p.m.
Microsoft Events Center at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
1301 5th Ave., Ste. 1500, Seattle, WA, 98101
This will be the final issue of Marketing News for this year. From all of us at The Seattle Times, have the happiest of holidays and a peaceful New Year.
Contact your account executive today
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