Why are we breaking our backs to make online media addressable? Does it really matter?
Those two questions can be answered in a variety of ways; and in many cases, the answers are indicative of the type of marketer you want to be. Do you want to be a marketer that influences customers to buy more product? A marketer that builds a recognizable consumer brand? One that drives more sales? The truth is that you can be any type of marketer you want, but if you don't start looking at how you do it in an addressable world, you may find yourself to be the type of marketer that talks about when you "used" to be in marketing. Sound too harsh? Go ask your friends who are still trying to sell print advertising today.
Addressable media is now the go-to for any marketer that wants to determine how to utilize what they know about their customers to help drive better marketing online. Nearly a decade ago, I wrote one of my first online articles about how to incorporate your offline customer data into the targeting of your search campaigns. The process was clunky and unsophisticated to say the least, but it still drove results for clients. Today you can utilize third-party data sources, combine them with your own customer data and then push that information out to determine when you are going to buy media online and what message you are going to deliver. These types of systems have shown the ability to more than double the effectiveness of traditional real-time bidding exchange advertising. However, that simple process for improvement is only the first step that marketers should be taking to improve how they use addressable online media to start building relationships with their customers.
Relationships are built through conversations, not messages
It is hard to have a conversation with someone that you don't know. We have all been to that neighborhood party where we ended up talking with someone who lives near us -- and with whom we probably had something in common -- but unfortunately had no idea how to start the conversation. That is how I tend to think about serving online advertising without addressability. You are the guy at the party who has something that everyone is interested in, but you can't figure out how to tell them all without being outlandish and making a fool of yourself. Now enter the world of addressability. Imagine that same conversation at the party, but this time, you know what sports teams they follow, what types of jobs they have, who their other friends are, what common movies you have seen recently, and that they went to the same college as you. Would you still be standing there with nothing to say, or would you use the information that you had to start a conversation about something of interest to you both?
We recently ran an integrated marketing program for a major single-cup coffee machine manufacturer/distributor, where we took the knowledge of their current customers and built a messaging roadmap that spanned display, search, email and social marketing campaigns.
We developed a message-sequencing plan that spoke to multiple areas of interest for their customers, based on their socioeconomic class, gender, and lifestyle; and then we delivered that messaging based on where the potential customer was within the consideration funnel. Through the creation of an addressable media approach, we enabled the client to have a start-to-finish conversation with customers.
We started with a more generic message that was suited to the audience segment, and then moved to a message that was customized based on the sections of the site that each customer visited. Finally, we delivered a sales message based on the keywords the visitor was using within Google to search for competitive products. After the full sequencing of messaging was put into place, we saw display advertising engagement increase by 12 times that of the typical campaign. We were able to move the percentage of high-value purchasers from 35% of acquisitions to over 60%, and reduced non-brand keyword search cost per acquisition by 40% through the utilization of display targeting and profile data, as well as Google's Remarketing Lists for Search Ads program.
In another program for a major U.S. auto insurance provider, we utilized the Google RLSA platform to expand our keyword targeting to upper-funnel keyword terminology for high-value customer segments. By segmenting the company's remarketing lists by customer profile, each audience was able to receive unique messaging in what would typically be a generic messaging ad space. The result was an increase in click-through rate from 1% to 6% and an 83% reduction in cost per policy issued.
What should you take away from this article?
As we've learned over the past 20 years in marketing, you need to pay attention to the little things in your marketing programs. Addressability in digital media has reached the scale necessary to be a cornerstone of your strategy for building relationships with your customers. It is time for you to consider how your online media are being bought and delivered in a consistent manner – with a plan for communication that builds on your value proposition for the customer. We are now in a world of online marketing where what you deliver, when you deliver it, and how it is received should all be a part of your marketing strategy. So, to answer the questions posed earlier: If you aren't thinking of addressable media as a better way to engage and speak to the right customers, then you aren't going far enough.
About the Sponsor
Merkle, a technology enabled, data driven customer relationship marketing (CRM) firm, is the nation's largest privately-held agency. For more than 25 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. By combining a complete range of marketing, technical, analytical and creative disciplines, Merkle works with clients to design, execute and evaluate connected CRM (cCRM) programs.