Commentary

If The Next 'Big Move' In Your Marketing Strategy is Hyper-Targeting, You Need A Bigger Move

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, February 12, 2020
Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created. As consumers, our minute-by-minute behavior -- sending texts, watching YouTube videos, checking Instagram, reading and responding to emails, downloading music, shopping online, and more -- creates an abundance of data.

Marketers could never effectively use it all. There is certainly no shortage, and many find themselves challenged to uncover real insights.

But then hyper-targeting was born. Nielsen recently reported that 53% of surveyed marketers cited “audience targeting” as their number one marketing priority for 2020. If your big marketing initiative this year is centered around hyper-targeting your core audiences, it might be something to reconsider.

The obvious reason

Beginning Jan. 1, the CCPA, or the California Consumer Privacy Act, went into effect, marking a substantial shift for consumer data collection.

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For brands that are engaging in hyper-targeted marketing practices, the implications are great. Consumers, at the very least, will become more widely aware of the services and policies to which they consent. At worst, they will opt out completely.

Regulation on this issue is nothing to play around with. Big Data firms will face massive fines for noncompliance, and in addition, legislative action for data breaches.

I predict the current returns on hyper-targeting will not fare well with this new regulation.

The less obvious reason

Valentine's Day is around the corner. While it's no Christmas, Americans will spend roughly $19.2 billion on gifts this year, each gift averaging $110. In addition, one quarter of Americans will buy gifts for more than one partner. Yikes.

The point is that there is a lot of spending going on, and we have all sought out gift ideas from a friend or family member. It's basic human behavior to want to learn from each other in order to make the right buying decision.

I will consult (and so will you) my word-of-mouth network to influence up to 50% of my purchases. Regardless of any CCPA risk, hyper-targeting is narrow-casting, and ignores the opportunity to gain positive spill effects from more broad marketing that will lead to word-of-mouth influences.

While a 1-to-1 marketing approach in theory might seem logical, it misses on the fact that we, as consumers, don't make buying decisions in a vacuum.

The problem? These days, everyone is on a quest to make data-driven marketing decisions. It has been challenging to ignore the urge to place a misguided emphasis on targeting as a way to profitability.

Hyper-targeting will get you sales -- I won't argue that. Bottom-of-the-funnel marketing isn’t exactly rocket science. But will it drive tomorrow's sales? Marketers need to think about the impacts of influencers on buying decisions, as well as the fact that gaining mental availability, even with a consumer who is not yet in-market, isn't a terrible thing.

As stated by Byron Sharp in his book How Brands Grow: “To grow, a brand needs to attract as many people as possible.” Notice that Sharp doesn't say attract as many people in your core demographic as possible.

Reach across multiple audiences increases awareness and mental availability. It increases familiarity and a propensity to consume. It reinforces buying decisions and strengthens loyalty as a byproduct.

Focusing too much on only your immediate core consumer is a nearsighted approach that will limit both growth and longevity of your brand.

For a lot of brands, marketing is a dollar in, dollar out game. Don't forget that returns can be generated from broader marketing, when done efficiently.

1 comment about "If The Next 'Big Move' In Your Marketing Strategy is Hyper-Targeting, You Need A Bigger Move".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 12, 2020 at 8:11 a.m.

    Good one, Angela, especially your point about short term vs long term thinking. The latter is the key to a successful business strategy while the former is merely a tactical ploy.

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