“The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist,” says Don Draper. “What you call ‘love’ was invented by guys like me. To sell nylons.” Listen to the bigshot creative director who has all too many marketing lessons to give as a character from Mad Men, a TV show set in New York in the cutthroat ad age of the 1960s.
It’s interesting when you look back at the era that relied heavily on a perfect idea to tug on the heartstrings of consumers. It’s unfathomable to rely on pure instincts now, especially with so much noise, competition and clutter – all clinging to the age-old advertising tactics. How many of you have used Santa Claus in your ads just because it works? (Yes, that same Santa Claus who was invented by Coca-Cola eons ago.) That’s the problem – there are too many of you, and you’re all targeting the same consumers with the same tactics, and on an overly crowded playing field.
The Mad Men days have gone, and so should that mindset of relying on only traditional campaigns and pure instinct. To stand out, you have to start thinking BIG. Think Big Data. Think technology. Think practicality.
What is Big Data?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Big Data is defined as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.” Businesses can collect these data sets from business processes and from their customers through various methods and channels. When these data sets are leveraged carefully and strategically, you can find useful trends that will improve your marketing strategies and impact your company’s bottom line.
With the right (and sometimes expensive) technology, you can access someone’s digital behaviour, whether it’s where they are clicking, how much time they’re spending on websites, their personal preferences, their exercising and sleeping habits, or even what and when their next purchase is going to be.
According to Forbes, CMOs will soon be spending more on IT than CIOs. In fact, marketing technology companies have already attracted at least $50 billion in investment. With this in mind, it’s time to explore why Big Data is the bomb, so you can lend some weight to your pitch to convince your CMO to shift some budget towards Big Data.
What’s Popular, What’s Not
With Big Data, you can find out what’s hot and what’s not. Use tools like Google Trends or social listening tools to learn about what your targeted customers are saying online, or what they’re searching for. Popular social media tools like Facebook and Twitter provide real-time trending topics as well as insights generated by people who are frequently revealing information about themselves in their social posts. Marketing becomes so much easier when you can throw out the ideas that just don’t jive with your audiences and when you have the backup – the data – to justify your campaign!
Suggestion: Take Google Trends for a spin. Enter a keyword and Google will automatically spit out a related search term. Can you smell the business opportunity, including a boost in search engine ranking?
Know Who’s Drinking Your Kool-Aid
In the 1960s, we would use pure instinct to define which companies to target. With Big Data at our fingertips, you have access to so much analytic data that you will no longer have to shout into a vacuum, hoping that maybe just one person from your target audience will pick up on your offer. Use Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, for example, to identify the demographics of your audience at a granular level, such as who is coming to your website, where they are from geographically, or their gender or age.
Once you have figured out who they are, whether they’re influencers or prospective – or current – customers, connect with them and engage with them. Use tools like Hootsuite to monitor and respond to what these people are saying at a personal level so they can start recognizing who you are. With this data and established connections, marketing a message or product becomes much more streamlined. Selling a bikini to a man who is 65+ just doesn’t work.
Suggestion: Make sure your website is set up so you can access Google Analytics. Download Hootsuite so you can begin to pull reports that will allow you to drill down on content and engagement insight.
You snooze, you lose
“But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness,” says Don Draper. Humans have relatively short attention spans – once they lose their source of happiness, they immediately search for the next thing that can capture their attention again. It’s up to the marketer to keep the target audiences engaged. Things like drop-off rates on websites or identifying where a subscriber stops reading your content in an article, newsletter or website are extremely important pieces of insight. To keep your audience happy and engaged, make sure your content is timely and relevant to their interests!
With digital behaviour available to you in real time, you can send your customers the right message at the most relevant times. And you can receive notifications right away when a subscriber to your newsletter, for instance, opens your email. In the example of a lead who is looking at a purse on your website and then exiting so she can make her decision later, use automation software to capture and track her behaviour and demographic information. In a follow-up campaign, send her relevant topics to build on the concept of why purchasing this purse is beneficial to her. It’s very likely that the same lead is also looking for the same product on other websites. In this scenario, the company who can stay top of mind will most likely convert her. It’s like (Tinder dating. Even after they’ve swiped right, you still have the hurdle of chatting up your prospect daily to convince them to go out on a date with you.)
Suggestion: Look into optimal times to send your newsletters or at retargeting campaigns so you can keep your product top of mind at all times.
Don is still relevant, and so are ads
I’m not saying ads are no longer effective – you just need to look at them a little differently!
While advertising is no longer strictly a game of billboards and radio ads, other types of new media advertising are still highly effective. For example, the company I work for is looking into targeted ads for Google Play Music and Spotify, as more people are relying on those channels for music relief. Google display ads or Facebook sponsored ads are now common tactics too, since your message can be amplified even more so to the audience that matters to your business. With a targeted demographic that’s well researched using Big Data, you can transfer this knowledge into a successful ad campaign.
Suggestion: Explore pay-per-click campaigns or remarketing campaigns that will allow you to target specific audience sets and profiles.
No more anticipation, but no more fear
Big Data is not going to give you the same big AH-HA moment that you get when your only-a-gut-feeling idea actually works! However, it does use validated ideas to help you make a decision that is more precise and proven, so that there’s less of this: “Our worst fears lie in anticipation.” (A quote from Don, of course.)
Suggestion: Make it a habit to report the results of your campaign or even take on monthly reporting so you have quantifiable data relating to your successes and failures. Then just keep testing and improving. It’s almost like an experiment!
Even if you’re not a Mad Men fan or you have no clue what those quotes mean, you should still get this: To navigate Big Data properly, it is still up to you as a person and as the mastermind behind the strategies.
Now that there’s love, the nylons don’t just sell themselves – the consumer still needs a catalyst, and that can be you.