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Taking audience targeting beyond demographics

For decades, separating audiences into demographic groups was the holy grail for marketers. The prevailing wisdom was that you could simply separate prospects and customers into neatly defined groups — including age ranges, income brackets, education levels and geographic locations — in order to “personalize” marketing propositions.

Today, traditional demographic analysis is just the tip of the iceberg for audience targeting. To build an effective program for one-to-one marketing, factors that need to be looked at include customer intent, personal interests, past purchases and more. Fortunately, there is more relevant and powerful data for a marketer to mine than ever before. You just have to know where to look.

The three basic types for marketing data.

From a tactical perspective, despite the nearly endless array of data attributes in play, marketing data can be categorized into these basic types:

  • 1st-party data. This is the data you collect directly from various sources including website and mobile app analytics, CRM programs and email marketing initiatives.
  • 2nd-party data. This data emanates from efforts you undertake with other marketers who have similar or intersecting goals. Two classic examples are a collaboration between a manufacturer and a distributor of the same product lines, or a joint effort of two manufacturers who have complementary offerings.
  • 3rd-party data. This expansive type of data is purchased from commercial aggregators and data vendors. It may include actual SEO data from third-party sites, behavorial data based on insights, and registration/opt-in data that identifies visitor/prospect intent.

Which type of data is best to use? The answer is, some combination of the above. The idea is to find a balance between the goals/expectations for scale, overall cost and performance for your campaign.

For instance, while 1st-party data has the most direct relevance to your enterprise, it is also the most limited in scope. On the other hand, 2nd-party data can help to widen the scope of your campaign, as long as the strategy and execution of the campaign is carefully built to be mutually beneficial for both parties.

Lastly, 3rd-party data provides a depth and scale that can’t be matched otherwise. However, you need to carefully vet the audience targeting data that comes from aggregator/vendors — some of whom are less than transparent — which can often turn out to be of lower value.

Next: Giving marketing data a second life.

Keep an eye out for the next article on our blog, coming within the next few days: A look at ways you can extend the utility and effect of your audience targeting efforts, beyond the scope and duration of your initial campaign.

Neptune Web is a full-service Boston-area interactive web and digital marketing agency with expertise in Website Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution.

We look forward to your comments and would be most happy to address and help solve any Digital Marketing or Website Design & Development challenges you may have.

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