A powerful shift is happening to the roles of advertisers as researchers, according to Joel Rubinson:
As little as five years ago, it wasn’t the responsibility of advertisers to understand their audience. That was the role of media planners – who did all the primary and secondary needed to define an audience. Advertisers only needed to specify demographics and psychographics, and it was off to the races. But now, with the rise of programmatic buying, it is becoming the ADVERTISER who must understand their own audiences based on user knowledge.
In digital advertising, marketers are overwhelmed by the amount of audience fragmentation. Different customers interact differently on different devices, different media channels and at a different times during their brand engagement lifecycle. And that’s a lot of differences to understand. But fortunately, as these are all digital channels and platforms, data is generated at every step along the way. Programmatic Buying attempts to organize this massive fragmentation by enabling marketers to consolidate these multiple interactions, and then develop an all-encompassing strategy that engages. It assigns a value to each data point where a customer can be reached, allowing marketers to maximize their budget by only targeting interested customers. This also means more relevant marketing messages for the customers, and boosted revenues for publishers, all of which is leading to a shift towards Programmatic Buying being the accepted method of digital audience targeting.
This data-driven marketing is all about acquiring, analyzing and applying information about customer and consumer wants, needs, context, behavior and motivations. And so the typical marketer now needs to know and actually build their own audiences based on user knowledge and cherry picking the impressions they want to bid for. How can advertisers compete? Commit to making five data-based changes to planning processes:
- Data Processing: Invest in and implement a technology stack that can handle the influx in data and act on it quickly.
- Data Collection: As advertisers, it’s now becoming more important to collect first party data at scale.
- Data Partnering: Develop a partnership strategy that helps to expand detailed user understanding and expand reach to users who are important.
- Data Reliance: Don’t trust hunches when it comes to media budgeting and planning. Use data-based evidence to back up targeting strategies.
- Data Inter-connectivity: Connect quantitative survey data to the auto-collected digital data wherever possible to round out your understanding of audience behaviour and develop a robust brand strategy.
Assuming that many evolving marketing agencies are already implementing data-focused decisions, Joel highlights Point 5 especially: “In a digital age, it is market research’s responsibility to make sure that their marketers stay strategic at all times, while executing tactically on data to maximize the yield of marketing activities.” Good market research can enable this. Three key areas that need a lot of research support (but don’t get enough of it) are segmentation research, brand tracking, and new product/concept testing:
- Segmentation Research: Create well-researched segments using surveys and digital profiling data. If you can’t identify the segments correctly, you can’t help them act on digital advertising.
- Brand Tracking: Brand health cannot be completely captured solely by survey results. Pre-defined digital and social KPIs should reflect how regularly consumers are seeking your brand. But then by matching those digital results with survey respondents and analyzing which characteristics most differentiate those who are responding to your digital advertising gives you a new view into the soul of the brand and which users and messages drive the strongest ROI.
- Product/Concept Testing: Generating successful trials is your end goal. Period. Use research to develop targeting strategies by appending digital data profiling information to product/concept testing research done via survey or face-to-face so that future messages and offers can be better tailored and targeted to users who convert.
Marketing research might think it has always been data driven but it really has been study driven in a data poor world. Now that we are in a data rich environment, this isn’t good enough. Being data driven takes on a whole new level of meaning that marketing research must understand if it is going to remain relevant. Need help getting started? Contact us!