With the explosion of the digital era, social media users are now willing to share almost anything about themselves with the rest of the world. Because of this, marketers have an entirely new edge, making it easier to target by demographic based on the information people publicly provide. However, we as marketers need to make sure the pendulum does not swing too far towards granular data, with excessive focus on the “who” and not enough on the “when” and “where”.
When you’re looking for a sale, your customer’s mindset is crucial. Once you understand the right person for your product, the next step is to determine when that person is going to make a purchase. When the perfect customer is mentally prepared to take the action you’d like them to take, it’s the absolute best time to advertise your product. If the timing isn’t right, your chance of making a sale is low, even if you’re targeting exactly the right person.
To use a simple example to illustrate the point, the Gatorade brand is often associated with athletes, gym-goers and those who live an active lifestyle. Since the sports drink is great for hydration and energy restoration, the ideal target would be someone who’s thirsty and tired. Even though a man poking around the athletic shoe section of a sports store might be a customer down the road, he doesn’t necessarily have an active need or desire for Gatorade in that particular moment. A better time to market a product like Gatorade would be at the end of a marathon since runners are hot, fatigued and dehydrated – that’s when you’re most likely to get a sale.
Another example would be SEM marketers who have especially caught onto this trend. They know the Google search “women’s shoes” is less likely to result in a purchase than “Women’s Adidas Ultra Boost Sneakers.” The second search term won’t get as many eyeballs, but the purchase rate will be higher. When users are searching for something with that level of specificity, they’re in a mindset that says they’re ready to buy.
Though targeting capabilities have been extremely progressive, we haven’t seen anything yet. As people migrate toward artificially intelligent home assistants, they will begin to bypass Google completely. With Alexa, we can prepare to see Amazon dominate the search advertising space tied to consumer goods and services. As the “Internet of Things” continues to gain steam, AI and predictive algorithms will do the same. Eventually, you’ll stop talking to Alexa and Alexa will start talking to you…
My advice to marketers in today’s competitive landscape is to first understand the problems your product can solve and address the pain points of everyday consumers. Demographic data can steer you in the right direction, but your strategy becomes infinitely more effective once you learn when a customer develops a specific need or desire for your product. To optimize targeting, marketers should not forget to focus their energies on the timing of the sale and where your advertising should be placed.