TNS with three tips on how to stay ahead of the marketing game in an ever-evolving world

How can brands get ahead of the curve in today’s disrupted world? Marketers have myriad options when it comes to spending time and money to keep up with new dynamics of consumer behaviour but how can they prioritise efforts to target the right opportunities? In its annual Connected Life study, research agency TNS identified a number of opportunities to focus those efforts. Here are its top three.

1. Fuse data and strategy in targeting

The willingness of people to share personal information in exchange for more relevant brand interactions provides many opportunities for highly targeted advertising. The problem is, that’s not how many brands are using the data available. 

The weakness of behavioural targeting is that it focuses on people already displaying behaviour relevant to the product. By prioritising these consumers, marketers tend to focus too much attention on the bottom of the funnel, serving ads to people well-advanced in their buying decisions, possibly even those who have already made a purchase and are no longer in the market. 

Targeting digital audiences by mindset and intention rather than interest and current behaviour yields significantly better results. The real opportunity is in integrating strategy-driven segmentation with behavioural data to target consumers much earlier in the purchase funnel. By combining internal consumer intelligence with bespoke research, brands can uncover and target their high-value audience.

The way people choose brands and products is complex, involving emotional and functional needs, habit and other forms of unconscious behaviour, as well as their conscious attitudes. Because of this, it is vital to target those that are actually open to spending more with you. 

2. Customise for consumer and context

The most effective advertising content aligns with the values, motivations and priorities of its target audience. This becomes far easier to achieve when there is the opportunity to customise the approach for each targeted segment and context. However, few digital advertising campaigns yet tailor content to different audiences in this manner.

This is all the more surprising given the obvious benefits of customising creative. There’s little point running a TV ad on YouTube if it doesn’t get across its key messages in the first five unskippable seconds and Snapchatters expect a very different tone of voice from brands than those using Instagram. Marketers must adapt to the social nature of digital interactions, demonstrating quickly and clearly they have a contribution to make, and that they understand the conversation they are asking to join. 

Part of the problem lies in budget allocation. Many brands continue to devote large slices of spend to producing and running TV campaigns, whilst allowing very little for adapting content to different platforms. Rebalancing these priorities can dramatically increase effectiveness. It can also open the way for cutting-edge content partnerships with apps and other media players, which can align a brand with the user experience.

3. Target moments not media channels

People’s digital platforms usage is increasingly predictable, triggered by different aspects of daily routine, situations and environments. The key to targeting these moments effectively lies in identifying which best align with a brand’s objectives. For brands, whose ability to sell is enhanced in particular situations or times of day, these objectives will revolve around sales. For others, it’s a case of identifying when consumers are most open to communication. 

Social media listening helps map out moments when a brand can most effectively align itself with its audience’s agenda: when a tweet is most likely to be retweeted, a Facebook video most likely to be commented on. Real-time marketing that responds to spontaneous, shared moments as they develop can be quite powerful. In addition, opportunities for brands often lie in the moments that are repeated on a regular basis, and which don’t need traditional TV coverage to help create them. 

Opportunities for moment-based targeting are rapidly expanding as platforms such as Twitter and Google roll out time-specific ads designed to address specific moments in the day. To make the most of these opportunities, brands need to invest in understanding the moments that matter most and how they can best target them.

To find out more about making integrated marketing effective, please contact Victoria Fedotova at TNS New Zealand at victoria.fedotova@tnsglobal.com. TNS is a full service market research based consultancy focused on providing pragmatic and actionable solutions to market-facing issues. Click here to find out more information about Connected Life.

Victoria Fedotova is client director at TNS New Zealand. She has significant experience in market research, insight and strategy, working with organisations in retail, automotive and luxury goods. At TNS, she helps brands get closer to their consumers, through understanding their needs, attitudes and behaviours to drive effective integrated marketing strategies.

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