Campaign “targeting” is all the buzz among marketers, as suppliers look to focus their resources and create more personalized experiences for buyers. But for all of its popularity, the approach also can go wrong in several key ways.
To get the most value out of targeting, consider these three tips.
Sending emails or ads to a narrow audience holds inherent appeal for marketers. After all, small audiences should be cheaper, right?
Yes and no. The more selects you put around reaching an audience, the more difficult it may be to find these individuals—and publishers and ad platforms typically put a premium on highly narrow access. Also, merely making use of some channels will have fixed costs. Whether you choose to mail a brochure to 20 people or 200, you’ll still have to carry the expense of getting your creative on press.
A better way to consider whether to go broad or targeted with your campaign is to first examine your ideal customer. Is your product widely used by a variety of customers? For example, a manufacturer of palletizers doesn’t have to worry so much about what sort of products its buyers produce. Its equipment can be used with basically any product that can be boxed. Whereas someone who makes coffee bagging equipment—they’re going to want to reach only coffee manufacturers and pretty much anyone else isn’t of much value to them.
When quantity of who is hit with a campaign doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of being within the manufacturer’s addressable market, you’ve got a perfect use case for targeting. By knowing who you want to reach—and how much value reaching only this particular audience means to you—you’ll be better able to assess cost per lead of a targeted campaign.
When coming up with targeting criteria for prospecting campaigns, it’s easy to fall into the trap of listing every possible way someone may relate to your product. For example, consider a company that makes different types of wrapping equipment for use with products such as cookies, chocolate bars and personal care items. For this company, many of its “baking” and “confectionary” prospects traditionally are drawn to entry-level equipment models that are known for precision and easy cleanability. While the company’s “personal care” prospects may tend to focus most on models that accommodate high speed. Versioning campaigns by equipment type featured (entry-level vs. high-speed/full feature) or ideally to each of these three industries will be far more impactful than a one-size-fits all ad.
That’s because the most effective campaigns reach readers through relevance. If you target everything under the sun, you water down your message and lose some of the relevancy that helps your ad stand out. What’s more, the value equation of a generic ad isn’t as strong. By separating messages, a supplier can demonstrates it has expertise in exactly the area that matters most to the buyer, as opposed to a generalist—which is a more compelling proposition.
And ad effectiveness isn’t the only consideration. Time savings for the marketer also matters. In the example above, if the company uses a broad, one-size-fits-all approach, then it needs to set up some nurturing campaigns or additional follow-up communication with those who engage to determine which one of its products or which industry application is of interest.
The flipside of the challenge just mentioned is setting your target too narrow. Consider this common trap: If you know that C-suite executives are those who ultimately make decisions on purchases, then why not just cut to the chase and seek them exclusively with your campaigns?
The problem with this approach is that buying decisions don’t happen in a vacuum. While CEOs or brand managers may indeed hold the purse strings, they also rely heavily on input and vetting from others across the organization. To continue our wrapping equipment example, identification a group of suppliers—and narrowing to front runners—may involve input from maintenance/service technicians who will examine things like operating efficiency, financial leaders who will study ROI, engineers looking at safety, etc. The CEO may rest almost the entirety of the purchase decision on others. To ensure these “influencers” are knowledgeable about the brand and its products, the marker needs to err on the side of inclusivity as it relates to job title when determining targeting criteria.
This advice also holds true in other areas. To continue the example from above, even though the manufacturer chiefly sells its wrapping machines to the industries listed, this doesn’t mean there isn’t value in looking a little wider sometimes. Perhaps new business could be garnered by focusing on, say, cannabis products as well—with the right message to draw in these tangential new audiences.
Looking for one-on-one advice on when and how to best use targeting in your campaigns? Contact Wendy Sawtell, VP Sales, PMMI Media Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.