Commentary

Riding The Segment-Driven Marketing Wave

Marketers already riding the segment-driven marketing wave know that reaching the right consumers involves a mix of marketing programs and messages designed to resonate with their audience on a deeper level than the average consumer. Are you still asking yourself, "Where can I find Web sites that have a higher-than-average concentration of green consumers," or "What are college sports enthusiasts searching for?"

If you're confused, you're not alone. Currently, 92% of marketers surveyed use segments to manage online advertising or search, but three-fourths of those marketers have difficulty demonstrating real business results from segment-driven marketing. Why? Simply put, they fail to identify the end goal. In fact, once you've set appropriate targets, digital consumer behavior becomes the key to benchmark performance against rivals, look at trends over time, understand changes in brand attitudes and ultimately illustrate tangible business results.

Take these three examples as a starting point for understanding how to demonstrate results through targeted marketing:

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Sponsorship:

Are we more or less engaging than rivals?

Benchmarking is an important starting point for evaluating segment-driven marketing. You'll need to understand how your brand performance stacks up to rivals and whether that changes over time, pre-, during and post-sponsorship. One way to do that is to look at whether the target segment (e.g., NASCAR fans, college sports enthusiasts, green consumers) is more likely to visit your site than the average digital consumer.

Online Ad Spending:

Are we reaching the right consumers?

Effective ad spending often means finding smaller sites that have relatively high concentrations of your target prospects. For instance, let's say you are targeting vacation package shoppers. By tapping consumer behavior across the entire web you can move beyond travel portals to identify key ad-supported sites in the Internet's long tail and mid-torso to reach vacation package shoppers. In this case, vacation package shoppers are 2-4 times more likely to visit forbestraveler.com and redbookmag.com than the average Internet user.

SEO/SEM:

Are our search terms driving referrals and translating into engaged shoppers?

With segment-driven search marketing campaigns, tracking and improving performance on a segment-by-segment basis is critical to demonstrating results. Therefore, you should look at competitive search performance across specific segments to illustrate how your SEO/SEM campaigns are attracting and engaging your most important audience. Take the vacation package shoppers segment again as an example. Consumers looking to purchase a package vacation use the search function while doing their research. If you are marketing via search to this segment, you want to separate the number of referrals coming from the target segment versus overall referrals to get the deepest insights and highest conversion rates.

Catch the Wave. Random targeting and educated guess-based marketing are tactics of the past. Now, whether you're targeting consumers by age, income, gender, behavior or lifestyle, digital insights can demonstrate real and measurable business results.

Data for this piece were drawn from a Compete survey and an April 22, 2008 "Segment-driven marketing" webinar.

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