Tried and tested marketing practises of narrowly defining and targeting potential customers needs a radical rethink, writes Warren Moss at Demographica.
It is for this reason that Demographica, South Africa’s largest digital email advertising company, embraces the broadening of target audiences when planning promotions and special deals. Some recipients of the advertisement might not be the in the market for the product or service, but may well have someone within their network that is. This is potentially very powerful as the passing on of the details of the promotion carries an inherent endorsement.
The digital age has introduced many effective means of sharing information – literally at the click of a button. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have revolutionised how people communicate with often vastly-distributed audiences.
From an advertising perspective, the broadening of your target market vastly improves the possibility that recipients will pass the information on to interested parties in their network. This ability to quickly and effortlessly forward the information on is a key benifit in the choice between digital and traditional print media.
Within the digital space, the power has shifted undeniably into the hands of the consumer who can now easily share, like, dislike, unlike or openly criticise brands to an increasingly influential, digital-savvy consumer enabling most brands to react accordingly and in real-time based on the consumers feedback and responses.
Nowadays 68% of buyers and influencers use social media as their first source for product information, according to the European Social Media and Email Marketing study, and that figure is rising. So to make sure you’re not missing out on sales, you need to make sure you have an effective presence on all the major social networking sites.
Targeting of audiences, therefore, should encompass the immediate and associated networks and influencers of the desired consumer. No longer should you speak only to your 18 to 25-year old male living in Sandton. You should be speaking to his influencers, the people he trusts and is likely to listen to.
Marketers target influencers that are easy to identify, such as press, industry analysts and high profile executives. For most B2C purchases, however, influencers include people known to the purchaser and the retailer staff.
Social networking is a digital reflection of how our real lives would be networked if we could remove the constraints of physical proximity. The decisive difference being that within social networking you can reach a far greater audience, far quicker and in a far more interactive manner.
It can be deduced that digital advertising undoubtedly surpasses print when it comes to targeting influencers of the desired consumer and points to the direction that retailers should be taking if they wish to reach consumers where they will have most impact. In this respect, social media’s ugly sister – email – has plenty to offer for its convenience and share-ability.
The universal nature of email – with less than 3,5 million South Africans using Facebook versus almost 7 million Internet users, of which the majority will have email access – definitely plays in emails favour.
With the emergence of digital group discount services such as Groupon and LivingSocial, for example, a completely new dimension has been added to the online landscape, which corresponds with email’s share-ability as notices of new deals appear in subscribers’ inbox.
What is important is that a marketer is able to combine all of these tools into a holistic marketing strategy and use them when and where appropriate in service of that strategy. Online and offline marketing acted in isolation in the past, as did retention and acquisition marketing. Now, marketers understand that they must be blended to achieve the best results.
Email may not have the new and sexy appeal of social media platforms, but that should in no way be seen as making it less effective. With some forethought on your target market and its most probable networks and influences, email still remains a very powerful way to credibly reach your intended