The Oracle Data Cloud blog highlights the latest data-driven insights and trends in digital marketing and ad tech.

  • CPG
    November 23, 2015

The next steps in the audience planning evolution

This post was contributed by Mike Merna, Senior Director of Brand Strategy, CPG at Oracle Data Cloud.

There’s a saying, “You never really know someone until you talk to them at 4am.” I’ll offer a more suitable and actionable insight for marketers: “You never really know someone until you see how they spend their money.” And, now we can thanks to addressable purchase data.

The era of “spray and pray” is gone; purchase-based behavior enables us to be smarter marketers and evolve past earlier tactics used in media planning to connect to consumers through audience planning.

With digital media spending now approaching $60B in the U.S. this year, the old way just isn’t good enough. Audience planning, the practice of defining your target audience first, then finding them wherever they may be, places the consumer back to where she always should have been – at the beginning of your planning process.

To help you on this evolution from media planning to audience planning, we explored this topic in our recent joint webinar with The ARF – “The Evolution from Media Planning to Audience Planning: a Data-Driven Approach” and The Data Hotline experts delivered “3 Audience Planning Tips” to help clients exceed their KPIs.

Now, let’s take the next steps in the evolutionary journey. With a data-driven approach, you have everything you need at your fingertips as long as you follow these principals:

Data is your competitive advantage

Brands will win by knowing more about their buyers and non-buyers than their competition. Data is the key to understanding and predicting consumer purchase behavior- whether it’s your own consumer information (1st Party Data) or data from a partnership, such as a brand negotiating a deal with a Retailer (2nd Party Data), or purchasing marketplace data (3rd Party Data). Uncovering rich consumer insights via data allows you to be relevant and drive sales at scale.

You will benefit by acquiring your own data, but this takes time and has limitations - narrow breadth and shallow depth. So, you'll need to find the right data partners. Look for partners who have significant transaction data on addressable households, who can apply that across publishers and channels, and who can measure the casual sales impact of your marketing activities.

Identity Matters

Do you think you only have one on-line identity? Think again. How many phones do you have? How many social handles? How many email addresses and web browsers? Each of these represents a separate ID. Being able to tie consumer IDs into one overarching ID is no easy feat. Yet, it is vastly important for marketers to be able to reach an actual individual across all their channels and to measure their actions holistically.

Great strides have been made in the industry to create technology that can consolidate an individual’s IDs across channels. Look for a partner who can do this so that you can minimize wasted spend by reaching the right individuals, talk to them consistently across their touch points, manage frequency control, and measure with accuracy by connecting media exposures.

Ensure the creative storytelling matches the audience

If you are paying a premium to target specific audiences, shouldn’t you make sure you are using whatever insights you have about them to talk to them in a relevant way? For example, if you are targeting competitive brand buyers and learned that they are more likely to purchase all-natural/green products, wouldn't you choose to promote your product that has less chemicals or sustainable packaging over the ones with more?

Ensure the creative storytelling matches the audience. A partnership between the data, media and creative agencies is the key. It's not necessary, or advisable, to create a thousand different pieces of creative for a single campaign, but it is critical to understand the key differences between audiences to increase relevance and drive conversion.

Aim for the right KPIs

Clicks, while helpful for some things, won’t give you the information you need to understand a campaign’s holistic performance. Getting more granular results that map back to objectives on digital campaigns is now table stakes. Is your growth strategy this year to steal share from your competition? Then build an audience of competitive buyers and emphasize growth in household penetration as your KPI.

Knowing which audiences are truly driving incremental sales should be a mandatory KPI. Brands need to measure ROI across all digital vehicles—paid, owned and earned—and then learn what factors contribute to the results. Over time, campaign KPI’s can be connected to sales by audience to optimize marketing strategies at a campaign level, at a brand level and across all channels.

Stay up to date with all the latest in data-driven news by following @OracleDataCloud on Twitter and Facebook! Need data-related answers for your next marketing campaign or client partner? Contact The Data Hotline today. (What's The Data Hotline?)

Photo: Shutterstock

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