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Know Your Audience – The Danger of Missing Marketing Data

Today’s world is strongly self-centric. It’s why selfies became a thing and social media is more about how many likes and favorites are generated than about actual socializing. More than ever, people feel entitled to share their particular opinion - often quite loudly and insistently – regardless of whether it was asked for or is relevant to the situation. And that social media mentality has blended so completely with our buying habits that they are no longer considered separate ideas. We, as a society, want to be known, understood and appreciated. If a consumer is mis-targeted – a teenager receives emails from AARP, or a childless person is shown Google banner ads for the latest baby gear – the company loses credibility. Worse yet is when a business sends a potential lead, who has already engaged with them, an offer they have already taken advantage of or a thank you email for something they haven’t done. This is when a consumer thinks, “Well, they just don’t know me,” and shuts down. The same is true for a business lead. If Company A calls to sell you their lead qualification services and insists that they have the best solution for your lead-to-sales process, but you work solely with an inside sales team, you disregard Company A as incompetent, regardless of whether their product is good or not. It doesn’t matter. Their product isn’t right for you and their message is at best wasted, and at worst damaging to their reputation.
As marketers we spend so much time learning our product, crafting our messages, and choosing our promotional platforms. We have databases, call lists, lead reports and CRM systems that keep track of the prospects that we hope will bring in big sales: the true end-target of collective marketing efforts. But often we forget to focus on the personas or personalities of those people we want to target. And when there is misalignment between the message and the receiver, all of that effort is wasted –your email gets deleted and your list of potential buyers gets smaller as people decide that you aren’t putting in the effort to get to know them.
Not knowing your audience portrays a lack of concern for the individual – a dangerous idea in a time when people are seeking customized solutions to their specific problems. Even a slight misfire can take a lead from “Maybe that could work for me,” to “Definitely not what I’m looking for,” in a moment. And the next marketer that comes along with a message closer to the target is going to scoop that customer away faster than a Snapchat memory.
Knowing we often have as little (in some cases) as 140 characters to get a marketing message across – and often only one shot at it! – it’s vital that the message is industry, buying cycle and job title specific, for B2B. In B2C cases, you also have to target on age, income bracket, gender, family status and more. In both cases, knowing your lead’s social interaction, budget, decision-making power, and buying trends, is also critical to ensuring your message lands in the right inbox.
Whether through lengthy lead forms, data gathering tools, or progressive profiling, gathering lead data is an essential part of your marketing plan. With so much important data coming from multiple, disparate sources, it’s easy to get lost, and suddenly you are blindly flinging marketing messages out into the void, hoping that they somehow land with the right audience, wasting time and, more importantly, marketing dollars. And, as we well know, marketing budgets tend to be a self-fulfilling entity. If spend on marketing doesn’t show an ROI, you are less likely to get those dollars to spend in the future. Luckily, the opposite is also true. If you can boost results through the smart use of lead data for targeting, and then also use it to link sales results directly to those efforts, chances are you’ll continue to receive that marketing budget, and potentially more of it to keep on driving sales results.
The ability to collect, clean, blend and analyze all of that audience or lead data is key. And you need solid methods to do so on a repeatable, scalable basis.