ividence exhibited at ad:tech San Francisco last week. It was a great opportunity to meet people behind some of the newest innovations in advertising technology and the people who are using those technologies.
However, San Francisco also played host this week to a few authors whose books are incredibly relevant to advertising and marketing. Two whose newest books are on my reading list are:
Both of these authors take on subject matter that people think they know and understand from unique angles, enabling them to come to different and interesting conclusions. They got me thinking about one of the things we tend to think we know in business, but that we should really always be testing and learning more about: our customers.
In acquisition email, assumptions made about the customer can have an impact on both the advertiser and publisher side of the equation.
Advertiser: Hitting the Right Target
Traditional advertising always grouped customers by the media they consume. So The New York Times attracts higher income households; General Hospital has more female viewers; etc. Often times, as a result, advertisers speak about their consumers as being a part of a certain demographic slice of the population (25-34 year old female with income of $40-60K) instead of people (Sarah).
What the traditional model of targeting might miss about Sarah is that she buys gifts online for her 17-year-old male cousin, helps her family make decisions about medical care for her grandmother, and shops for clothes at both Target and high-end boutiques depending on what she’s looking for.
Narrowing too much by demographic target may cut out a large portion of people who would be interested in your products. With traditional media, that was a chance that sometimes had to be taken in the interest of keeping costs down and reducing waste.
Online advertising, particularly email, requires a change of that mindset, though. One-to-one marketing is very much possible. Advertisers can reduce waste by targeting people by action and interest rather than demographic information.
When talking to advertising customers, we actually encourage them to resist the urge to slice and dice audience segments too much. Using our platform’s automated targeting, we’ll reach the people most likely to respond. Advertisers can get a report of the demographics that responded best to the email, which sometimes yields surprises.
To make a long story short: It’s far more important to understand how people behave (which means buy) online rather than to collect descriptive data about who they really are.
Publishers: What Subscribers Want
On the flip side of the coin, publishers often believe they know exactly what content their subscribers want. They’re usually correct, at least in terms of what content subscribers want on their website, in the magazine, etc.
However, subscribers can act differently in their inbox than they do on a publisher’s website. For example, I occasionally see non-profit ads on some of the web comics I read. I notice them, but it would never occur to me to click on them there. However, if they end up in my inbox, I will almost always open them. Conversely, I’ll click on clothing ads on Facebook, but rarely open emails from clothing stores that I signed up for.
Being able to tap into those differences in subscriber behavior means better campaign results for advertisers and better revenue. However, every consumer behaves a little differently in the inbox.
For this reason, it can be really beneficial for publishers to understand what types of offers subscribers are responding to in acquisition email as well as the types of offers they respond to on site and in retention newsletters. The two types of responses might not match up as seamlessly as you expect.
What do you think you know about your customers that you’d still like to test? Tell us in the comments.
If you’re curious about how you can find out more about your customers (and potential customers) through acquisition email, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 3 Worst Mistakes to Make for the Health of Your Email List
Why Buying (or Selling!) Email Lists Doesn’t Work
Boost Your Email Marketing ROI by Focusing on Three Key Areas (on MarketingProfs)
Book cover image courtesy of Amazon.
Lynn Dalsing develops marketing strategy and content within the U.S. market for ividence. She has several years of experience in marketing for both B2B and B2C audiences. While working at high-end maternity clothing manufacturer, Ingrid & Isabel, she oversaw the development and evolution of branding for the company’s highly successful launch into Target stores.
Lynn has a passion for combining outstanding messaging with reach and engagement statistics, once describing an ESP’s reporting dashboard as the “best toy a marketer could get.” She can be reached at email@example.com.