Step back in time and look at the way marketing was managed in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Consumers experienced marketing mostly through TV, newspapers, magazines, billboards and store fronts. Now that the internet globally connects businesses and customers from any corner of the earth, marketing has also gone the way of the web. Social media, blogging and banner ads continue to replace print and TV advertising.
As businesses embrace online marketing, they are also having to adapt to new best practices. One major difference is that online marketing requires businesses to target a very specific audience, rather than a wider one as with broadcast television, for example. Marketers are having to take a more targeted approach towards their audience, and to treat their customers as individuals.
Human Connections Have Gone Global
The way we’ve grown to connect across the world is through the internet, but more specifically through social media. Facebook, with its more than 1 billion monthly active users, is just the top of the social media pyramid. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn, along with other smaller platforms, continue to spread the personalization of marketing. When you can see a person on their social media page or watch them on videos they’ve made, it creates an intimate situation and attachment to this random person living in some city you’ve never heard of. Yet, you feel like you are now connected to them because of this online interaction.
At the same time, businesses with an online presence have a greater chance of connecting with their customers, and vice versa. Consumers often show pictures of themselves using a certain product, providing the brand with free and organic marketing. However, when a consumer gets angry about a company they can be just as quick at condemning the brand across their own globally connected online audience.
This connectivity also gives companies the ability to get to know more about their audience. Does the target consumer for Company Y tend to read romance novels, or are they more into modern graphic novels? Where does the target consumer go on vacation, if they take vacations at all? What kind of car does my target consumer drive, and what does this say about their marketing sense? The internet gives marketers the chance to actually find the answers to these questions, and more,about their audience. They can then build user personas based on this information.
With so much choice and control afforded to consumers, marketing to the masses is no longer the most effective option. Consumers want to see marketing that is relevant to them, otherwise they will just switch off or “unfollow”. Now that businesses have access to insights into the likes, dislikes, behaviors, etc., of their audience, it is possible to give their audience exactly what they want. Business can treat their customers as individuals and deliver targeted content that is specific to them.
Build user personas
The more a company understands its product or service, along with the type of consumer who would buy their goods, the easier it is to develop user personas for their customers. You can define the characteristics, interests and behaviors of your customers. Then, the attributes most likely to go with this person’s background, education level, family history, etc. will help companies create funnel-style marketing campaigns. They will be able to directly match the needs of a consumer, all without ever seeing them face to face.
It is not enough anymore to create a single mass marketing campaign and send it out to anyone and everyone. We now have the opportunity to collect valuable information on who our customers are. This can be a very powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.