Managing Audiences

The term “audience management” is beginning to bleed into email and CRM discussions as a means of better articulating the way consumers are affected by a combination of direct marketing, social marketing and media-oriented activities. Some mix the message by throwing in retargeting as a form of audience management, but it’s not.   

You would think more effort would be put into overlaying audience insight on traditional email segmentation and response behavior.  Audience analysis is fascinating, as it’s information that spans behavioral media, social, tablet, device and contextual.   Audience analysis provides real-time looks into behavioral patterns, and is applied to first-party and third-party sites. You can narrow down audiences by individual, household, buying activity, real property, interests, wealth indicators, and even take it further down the behavioral side to ascertain interests by past site usage and search behavior.  It’s amazingly rich insight when conjoined with social and CRM data.

The email and messaging space, is traditionally fixated on patterns, and your job as a marketer is to condition consumers to receiving your email in a format they can quickly digest on a regular basis. Success is optimizing promotional windows for those with a retail end goal.

Social marketing, while not the most coveted monetization channel, has a tremendous effect on the two worlds of online media and eCRM. Social provides a real-time view of what’s happening in people’s lives and how external factors, communities and brands impact them daily. 

What makes this so exciting is the opportunity to marry rich audience management practices with customer management practices.   The dimensional view of the consumer is a data visualization dream. Add to this the ability to apply panel data on top of audience analysis, and the output become really granular insight. 

Back to the world of email marketing and CRM.   I typically ask three questions on this topic:

What type of audience data would you use if you had it?     What I love about audience data is its volume.  I know you own a home, I know you own a car, I know your kids are in private school, and  have propensity scores across 50 categories of consumer electronics that help me understand not just what you are interested in, but what you’ve bought and when you are most likely to be in-market to buy something.   I know this because you have purchased, shopped or expressed interest in these items in the recent past.   This can have a huge impact on how I apply discounting, length of promotions, timing, test strategies and which type of messages I use for this treatment  (notification message, promotional message, newsletter?).

How would you use audience data in an email program?    I’d first overlay audience data on email response data.   Say that you had a 25% higher click-through rate for Segment 1 (High Value Customers)  but by adding an audience overlay,  you see higher click-throughs in this segment that had several audience traits you didn’t know before, for example, Had interest in Golf, Newly Divorced, High Discretionary spend indicators. 

How often would you use it?  I think it’s practical to think you could look at this on every campaign.  Yet you’re not likely  to find actionable insights until you’ve developed your own predictive propensity models over time.   The value of audience data is it’s real-time, it’s not just specific about your brand and it’s the best outside-in view you will get

We know consumers are basically walking mobile devices today, always on; we know their lives are non-linear, and our marketing programs are in perpetual need of adapting.  You need more ways to understand how your program is affected by trends outside your control.  Your ability to predict those trends while fighting the day-to-day direct response battle will be the catalyst to your success quarter over quarter.

 

Tags: email
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