Identification of your audience can be accomplished using many different methods on individual channels, but unifying that view and recognizing the consumer across channels and devices is where most marketers are still unsuccessful. It’s not because the tools don’t exist. They do. It’s because the methodology is intimidating and most marketers don’t know how to implement the tools and technology to make it happen.
There are numerous ways to identify a consumer, which run the full spectrum of detail. Cookies, registration IDs, Household IDs, and statistical IDs are among the most prevalent. Each can be aggregated together in a way that anonymizes the consumer, providing a degree of privacy while still allowing you to determine if that ID belongs to an existing customer, a qualified prospect or a non-prospect audience.
Those three segments should provide the core of your efforts. For an existing customer, you should be delivering an upsell or retention message. For a qualified prospect, you should be delivering a conversion-oriented message. You should be eliminating non-prospects from your targeting so as not to waste dollars.
Just implementing these three segmentations can deliver significant value, having an immediate impact on your entire campaign and simplifying your efforts. Plus, these three segments are easily digestible for the entire marketing audience. It’s a natural, basic place to start.
Identification doesn’t mean you literally have to ID the person you’re speaking to. Identification means something simpler, more focused on broad-stroke understanding of the people you are speaking to. In the real world, you may not know someone’s name, but that doesn’t stop you from having a conversation that can be customized based on the context and what you know about him or her while they’re with you in a common setting.
Identification based on behavior and location is likely more valuable than identification based on demographic data. Just because someone is male or female, or of a certain age, doesn’t mean you know and understand them. The intricacies of human understanding can be found in the knowledge of behaviors, and understanding what your audience likes, dislikes and is genuinely interested in will provide significantly more value. For example, someone who searches for “cars” may be in market, or they may simply be an aficionado -- and how you use that context will dramatically impact how you market to them.
You can start with some personalization based on that initial behavioral info, but multiple dimensions of behavior provides you with more detail and therefore more opportunity to identify consumer motivations and become more granular over time. The challenge is, if you don’t learn across channels, then you can’t create that single view of the customer and you can’t target effectively, meaning you aren’t doing a great job of identification.
Identifying whom you are talking to and using that information, plus context, to deliver a personalized message, is key to your success going forward. Don’t you agree?