Why audience first marketing is your best marketing strategy?
I am sure you know that it costs 5x to attract a new customer,
than to keep an existing one.
For the data-driven marketers, LTV is the key.
So why not use an audience first marketing strategy in 2019
to transform that first date into a lifelong relationship?
It is not rocket science to understand that
having the audience first approach in marketing will drive more traffic to your business,
and hence, generate more revenue.
Sadly, several businesses do not implement this strategy,
and end up not being able to reach their full potential.
Some days back I was consulting with a client.
And when I sat with them to understand their strategy,
I found that they were lacking one key aspect.
We dug up their analytics and found that user engagement was poor,
and bounce rate was high.
Furthermore, the conversion rates were far from good.
All these metrics said the same story- they were simply not using the right audience strategy.
In one of my previous posts, I had talked about conversion optimization.
And how it can help you improve conversions.
However, that works only when you have the strategy right.
The success of conversion rate optimization depends on, among other things, marketing to the right audience.
That brings us to the subject of this post- what is audience marketing strategy?
Let’s break it down into two parts- what is audience marketing and how you can use it in your marketing strategy.
Audience First Marketing
If you carefully observe most marketing strategies, you will find that most of them are static in nature.
For example, you might segment prospects (target audience) based on their age, gender, and location.
What about users who do not fall into these static segments?
Should we disregard them?
Welcome to the dynamic world of audience marketing, wherein, we focus on often-ignored “personal” aspects of users such as their behavior, personality and mindsets.
Let’s use an example.
John and Kevin are two prospects in different age groups.
However, they demonstrate similar behavior.
They might watch the same show on NetFlix, research the same smartphone on the Internet, or window shop for the same vacation spot.
Get my point?
A traditional digital marketing segmentation will segment them into two different groups solely on the basis of their different ages.
With digital growth marketing using the audience marketing approach, they might be put in the same targeting campaign.
I said “might” because there are other aspects that need to be analyzed before refining the segmentation.
Understanding Audience Marketing: Is Funnel Marketing Dead?
I believe that audience first marketing has three core traits or characteristics: behavior, perceptions, and moments.
This approach allows for a more granular (narrow) targeting compared to the static demographic targeting.
Behavioral patterns could include sharing certain articles, specific searches on search engines and social media and more.
Reviews are a good example of perceptions.
For instance, a product can attract a positive, negative or neutral review.
Frequency of sharing these perceptions are useful in defining the segment too.
Finally, observing and acting upon the emotions of prospects (happiness, anger, and joy) are useful in refining the segmentation in your marketing.
Audience first marketing dismisses the traditional route of fixating on age, gender, location and social grade.
If you look at the modern-day consumer path, it is far from linear.
In fact, according to Allan Thygesen (Google), “no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all.
They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more.”
Did you know that 90% of users switch between devices and platforms to complete tasks?
And that is not all.
84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time, in up to six different categories.
Hence, demographic targeting alone will not help you solve the puzzle.
Please understand that audience first approach shares the same goal as any other digital marketing strategy-
defining your target audience, and offering them the right content at the right stage at the right time, converting them into customers, and having them become brand advocates.
However, the audience first strategy disrupts channel silos.
It brings agility into digital marketing, and challenges marketers to work on an omni-channel marketing approach.
Maybe it is time for Last-Click attribution to R.I.P?
Why the Audience First Marketing Approach?
I am sure by now you have gotten familiar with the concept of audience marketing.
How will it benefit your business?
Get closer to the target audience
Audience first marketing, on account of its granularity and focus on subtle aspects of human psychology, brings you closer to your target audience.
By breaking the shackles of channel-silos and traditional demographic segmentation, audience marketing allows you to understand your audience better, thus allowing you to create the right message for the user in their journey.
In particular, it gives you the right information to address the audience sentiments especially during those intent-rich moments of know, go, do, and buy.
We all now expect an immediate answer in the moments we want to know, go, do, and buy.
And all of these intent-rich moments are creating journey shapes as unique as each of us.
In many ways, intent is redefining the marketing funnel.
One of the biggest mistakes in marketing is to go after “everyone”.
This can inflate your marketing budget, and give you lower ROI.
On the other hand, when you go after a targeted audience, you are more likely to generate more qualified leads, and therefore, more conversions.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Let’s face it. There is immense competition out there.
And with the availability of growth tools and technology, running a business, especially an online business, has become simpler than ever.
That is why it is important that your brand stands out.
A smart way to achieving that is by being extremely granular in your target audience.
Niche marketing is the way to go when you are starting small and do not have much money to support your brand promotion.
Focus on helping your prospects identify with your brand and USP.
Alright so you followed the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) marketing strategy and start generating revenue.
The marketing funnel does not end with the customer buying your product.
Unlike the traditional marketing funnel, the modern day marketing funnel is not linear.
Instead, it prioritizes on advocacy after the last step (buying) in the traditional funnel.
And this is what Audience Marketing facilitates- advocacy.
Why should you care?
Because the cost of acquiring a new customer varies from 5x to 25x more than retaining an existing one as mentioned earlier.
And especially if you are a startup seeking funding, the investors will look into your customer churn rate.
When customers identify and engage with your brand, they become advocates.
Not only will they stay loyal with your business, but also influence others to purchase your offerings.
Audience marketing allows businesses like yours to turn more customers into advocates.
Agility: Be Dynamic
A static business model is hard to scale up.
The key to growth and sustainability in today’s era is agility.
Experiment with new ways to improve your offering.
Conduct surveys, ask your customers, perform market research.
I have seen businesses getting comfortable with their product and services.
And that works for a while. But then a disruptor enters the space, and suddenly the revenue does not seem to grow.
The best way to become dynamic in your offering is by attentively “listening” to your customer.
Examples of Audience First Marketing
While there are several companies doing well at audience marketing, some have nailed it.
Let’s talk about some of those who know how to connect with customers better than others.
The Swedish furniture giant nailed audience marketing by creating a community, known as Sharespace, for their customers encouraging them to share their own interior designs.
Talk about User-Generated content!
By giving the power to share content to its users, Ikea also put “agility” into action.
This way the company did not have to research elsewhere about ideas to offer better products.
The ideas came from its huge user-base itself.
Besides this also served as free advertisement for Ikea.
Customers, by sharing their ideas on the community platform, felt valued.
A win-win situation. Isn’t it?
Note: Sharespace is not active anymore.
Starbucks: Rewarding Returning Customers aka the GOLD Level
Are you a Starbucks lover who wouldn’t mind sometimes waiting in the line to get your favorite hot beverage?
Well, as a Starbucks lover (not necessarily the coffee, but the experience), I am a Gold Level member (300+ stars).
And that gives me goodies such as monthly double-star days, a personalized Gold Card with my initials, and a reward every 125 stars.
By creating “exclusivity”, Starbucks did great at audience marketing.
This means more returning customers, and therefore, more revenue.
Let’s get our hands dirty and see how you can IMPLEMENT Audience Marketing strategy.
After all, all i wrote before is useless if it does not have an “Actionable” part to it.
Audience Marketing: Let’s Do it
It’s basically a two-step process of understanding WHO and HOW.
Simple, yup! But not that easy.
Let’s start with the WHO
In this step, you will define your target audience as against shooting for all.
You can create an outline (and work on it) using these steps:
Existing data and your own industry knowledge: Start with what you have and what you know.
Market Research: Analyzing your competition, and using surveys and interviews to collect data.
Leverage Technology: Online tools and databases such as Google Trends and Ahrefs can provide abundant information when used correctly.
This involves applying the data collected in the previous step(s).
This part of our bootcamp involves revisiting the 4P’s of marketing- Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
Involve your target audience in your business from day one, and not after conceptualizing your product/service.
Why do I say that?
A product or service should start and end with the customer.
Your business exists for the simple reason of adding value to the customer, solving their pain-point, and thus, improving their life in some way- big or small.
I recommend visualizing how the end user will use your product.
Going a step ahead, envisioning the experience they will have.
These rudimentary questions will help you design your offering efficiently.
Customer testimonials and reviews, especially the negative ones, are loaded with insights to fine-tune your product/service.
Finally, it is time to “package” your product or service in a way that creates that awesome first impression.
This could involve the subtle things such as naming, size, color and packaging.
The price of your offering should result from a deep understanding of your target audience.
The income bracket and shopping habits of your target audience are two core aspects to look into when deciding the price of your product or service.
A little competitive analysis serves well here.
Casio and Rolex both make nice, sturdy watches.
But while the cheapest Casio watch costs just $10, a basic Rolex watch will make you poorer by a few thousand dollars to say the least.
Of course, the quality comes into play.
But it is more about the target audience.
While Casio is geared towards the broader audience, Rolex appeals to the audience in the high-end, luxury domain.
Here’s a fun video to know the difference between a high-end fake Rolex vs a real Rolex.
Yes, the customer should be able to find your business.
But that is not all.
The strategy will differ based on whether you aim at having a physical shop or an online store.
For the sake of this post, we will talk about the online business model since over 79% of people in the United States shop online.
Start by researching how and where does your target audience shop online.
Check out blogs, forums, question-answer websites such as Quora, Facebook communities, tweets and other online places to get more insights into your target audience.
For example, if you observe that your target audience uses Amazon more than they shop on eBay, you should bet your money marketing to them on Amazon.
First throw out the concept of one-size-fits-all.
Then create engaging promotional assets, aka laser-targeted paid advertising, that resonate with your target audience.
This will save your hard-earned money from being wasted into generic paid advertising.
Just because everyone is using Facebook ads does not mean you should as well.
Spend where your target audience hangs out.
If they frequent LinkedIn more than they visit Facebook, LinkedIn would serve a better venue for your ROAS (return on advertising spend).
Leverage content marketing in form of blogs and videos to engage with your target audience.
The secret sauce here is to publish and share custom content.
Your aim should be adding value to your customers.
Do not post generic articles that will not help your prospects.
Agreed that digital is the way to go in this day and age, but do not dismiss traditional media in your promotional campaigns.
A good old ad in a local newspaper or a well-designed flyer/brochure might hit the sweet spot with your target audience, especially if you’re a local business.
Audience first marketing is not an option if you want sustainable growth.
It is ‘the’ proven way to get build long-lasting relationship with your customers.
Paying attention to the likes, behaviors and intentions of the user will help you create relevant messaging at different stages of the customer journey.
Pay close attention to your customer,
and they will stay loyal to you, and bring more business.
That’s the way to higher revenue and growth.