'Who' Is The First Step Before 'How'

One of the fundamental linchpins in developing an effective marketing plan is being able to clearly define your target audience. Often, a target audience is described in very simple demographic terms--age range, gender and household income. Sometimes that information is supplemented with some sort of geographic specification. And, occasionally, a target audience might also be described in terms of its current media habits--light TV viewer, frequent magazine readers, heavy Internet usage. But, those basic audience descriptions can fall short when crafting a marketing plan that effectively reaches a specific audience at a time when its members are uniquely receptive to a persuasive message. Often, the difference between a moderately successful and a wildly successful marketing campaign is being able to understand the psychology of your audience.

This is especially true in developing a powerful interactive marketing plan. Because of the myriad of sites available to deliver a message, in addition to the proliferation of blogs, niche and specialty sites, Web communities and vertical search engines, it becomes increasingly important to understand what motivates your online audience. What questions are they trying to answer? What problems are they trying to solve? What do they care most about? How do they see themselves? What are they passionate about? What resources do they trust the most? Where do they go, and whom do they talk to?



At Scripps Networks Interactive, we recently launched an interactive marketing campaign on behalf of, a Web site that is primarily dedicated to providing news and information to professional builders, contractors and remodelers. But, prior to launching the campaign, we initiated a broad and deep program of research with this audience that included lengthy focus groups, trade show information gathering, and Web site intercept surveys. Once we felt we had a better understanding of the psychology of this audience, we were ready to embark on an interactive campaign.'s interactive campaign was designed to target contractors and building professionals who are actively seeking construction, remodeling and renovation information as well as reaching those professionals who are simply browsing information related to their business. And, one of the most important and most effective components of this plan was contextual targeting. By reaching this audience through contextual targeted text links, we were able to tap into the psychology of this professional audience and intercept them as they were actively seeking information as well as passively browsing.

Through contextual targeting, we were able to dynamically match Web content to select keywords relevant to the builder, contractor and remodeler audience. We placed highly targeted ads on the content pages within a select network of high-quality Web sites uniquely crafted for the professional builder audience. This service not only improves the experience of Web site visitors by displaying useful ads, it also helps uniquely target a specifically defined audience.

For instance, through our program of extensive research, we found that the Internet is now a primary source of information for builders. And, among builders, some of the most frequent uses of the Internet include obtaining product information and industry news utilizing a search engine. We found that builders are in fact interested in and looking for information in three key areas: industry news, products and best practices.

By capitalizing on the wealth of information gathered through our research, and utilizing interactive tools that uniquely target our specific audience, we were able to design a successful campaign. Although contextual media generated significantly fewer impressions than search impressions, the click-through rate was surprisingly impressive. The contextual campaign click-through rate was over 1.4 percent, which is well above the industry average and even outperformed other consumer-targeted campaigns that Scripps Networks has implemented. Because these image ads ran on tightly bucketed keyword groups structured to intercept our well-defined audience, we were also able to achieve a low cost per click of nearly 25 cents. By precisely targeting the audience at the right time, and knowing our audience intimately, this campaign achieved our goals, and was considered quite successful.

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