So, You’ve Heard About People-Based Marketing?

So, You’ve Heard About People-Based Marketing?

In this opinion piece, Jo Gaines (pictured below), the managing director APAC for cloud-based data marketing tech firm Krux, argues the case for “people-based marketing” and the benefits it brings to the bottom line…

All of a sudden the catch phrase “people-based marketing” seems to taking over the industry like some fancy new fad; targeting individuals rather than geographies, groups or broad demographics.


The ironic thing is, it’s not new, the savviest marketers have been targeting their customers at this level for years through many different forms of media. People are doing it, but there seems to be much confusion and hype about it right now. From where I sit there is a lot of fancy product and marketing guff around people-based marketing that is confusing the market. What’s getting lost in the messaging is that now we actually have the capability and infrastructure to stitch everything together, to target specific potential and existing customers where we know they are (not just where they might be) and via whatever device they are using.

Today, where one in every four Australians accesses the internet using more than 5 devices and the average Australian home has eight devices, marketers really need to be thinking about overcoming data challenges to connect with real people seamlessly, no matter what device they are using, in a timely manner. This is where the real industry interest and focus should be, not around solely targeting an individual.

Eliminating media waste is important to advertisers. Marketers spend a lot on advertising and these days there are so many different channels to reach them, they want to make sure all of their money is being used as efficiently and effectively as possible. That means, targeting the right person, the right number of times really matters. Bombarding people with the same message and creative is not effective. One of the challenges we previously had in the marketing industry was the inability to measure what was happening at the individual person level. You couldn’t tell for sure if your target audience was getting irritated but could generally assume that was the case. This becomes even more important in a world where we use multiple devices, sometimes at the same time, throughout our daily lives.

The good news is, marketing to people at the device level is a reality – many marketers are already targeting consumers across multiple platforms, matching people to devices no matter where they browse, shop or communicate online or offline and subsequently serving them accurate and personalised experiences, the most relevant number of times.

Gone are the days of cookies-based marketing as a means to an end.  Cookies aren’t capable of recognising individuals across all digital platforms. You can’t use cookies for things like Apple Safari, mobile apps, or wearables, for example, and these places can all provide important insights about consumer behaviour and intent.

This is even more important when you consider that 70 per cent of internet usage on a smartphone is conducted via an application. This is why many organisations are utilising technology such as a data management platform (DMP) to collect and synthesise all of their people data – behaviours, actions, characteristics, first, second and third party – across web and mobile touch points, to offer and monetise highly customised, exact audience segments, bringing an essential holistic view to their digital ecosystems.

Advertisers purchasing media across a wide array of sites, over an assortment of platforms, and via various middlemen (including DSPs, exchanges and ad networks) means the data available to the user can be incredibly siloed and complex. DMPs help stitch all the data together, and the resulting campaign and audience data, in a single, centralised location.  This allows an organisation to learn a phenomenal amount about its audience and customers – what they like, the things they do, the behaviours they exhibit and what’s important to them. All of this helps to create a seamless and targeted user experience and at the same time makes marketing investment more intelligent.

One platform that utilises people based marketing across platforms very well is Facebook. When you use Facebook, the act of logging in makes it easier for companies and brands to know it’s you and hence serve you similar ads that cater to your specific wants and needs. When it comes to publishers, the audience are often users that aren’t logged into an account, so publishers often utilise DMPs to analyse different data sets and learn about when the same person is on the same website, regardless of the platform. You can then match personal data to the device the person is using and serve content that caters to that individual.

How do we do it? How do we know that Nick has a tablet, a smartphone AND a laptop and uses one on his commute at 8am and 6pm every day, the other whilst waiting for his coffee at the café and the third at work, or a combination of all three? To start, it’s important to collate data from online and offline sources to build a profile for Nick. From this, you can understand what they like, what they don’t like, what’s appropriate and what is not appropriate content for them. Marketers can then give consumers like Nick a tailored online and offline frustration-free experience.

The goal of marketers remains true through the ages, that is, to move consumers from a stage of awareness through to purchase. By understanding a consumers’ journey, they are more likely to purchase a brand with relevance to their specific needs that they have been subconsciously (or consciously) seeing, opposed to the ones they haven’t been. Whether the advertisements digital, social, in-store or traditional media, it doesn’t matter, as long as the consumer is active on those platforms and seeing them.

Let’s bear in mind that where there is so much hype around people-based marketing, that the real conversation needs to happen at the multiple device level, and not just cease at the individual. We all get annoyed, or at least find it laughable, when the very item we’ve spent time researching and just purchased or, worse, the holiday in Hawaii that we’ve just completed is served up to us again and again across the web, on multiple devices, in multiple ads for multiple days afterwards. Wouldn’t the internet be a better place if this wasn’t an issue?

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