Thursday, November 07, 2013

right on target so direct, you're gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Ever wondered how some of the ads in the music/fashion/motor/gossip etc magazines you read on your way to work, the same ads every reader of the magazine sees, seemed strangely more relevant than the highly targeted data-driven ads you are subjected to on something like Facebook when you fire up your computer?

How can this be, when nature of brand advertising is not personal?
It knows nothing about you, yet this fact is one of the reasons why it works so well (when it's done well).

From Bob's 'Tangled up in Blue'.

'Then she opened up a book of poems and handed it to me,
Written by an Italian poet from the thirteenth century,
And every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal,
Pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue..'

Whether Bob is experiencing a moment of clarity or simply subjective validation is unimportant.

General human truths connect, they appear to be highly personal and relevant because something is true if a one's belief demands it to be true.

But hang on, my highly targeted social media campaign delivered incredible response rates?

It’s hugely tempting to get excited about response rates but it’s important to note that response rates are, in fact, not a very good indicator of effectiveness.

For a start, your followers on Facebook and Twitter are, for the most part, already your customers, and they are a tiny section of your customer base, among your heaviest and most loyal buyers.

So therefore an 40% response from targeting 10,000 people Facebook is less in terms of total responses than a 10% response from targeting 100,000 people anywhere else.

Plus the fact that the response rate is so high is skewed as these buyers would probably have bought anyway, at some point.

It’s the equivalent of handing out coupons inside your store.

That's not to say that gathering a group of enthusiasts has no value.
But these customers should be viewed as an asset not an audience.
An asset that requires putting to work to share, amplify and reach new people.

Here’s the thing about targeting and relevance. These are not the same thing.

And even in a direct marketing sense, precision targeting can actually be counter to effectiveness.

Highly targeted campaigns are fashionable with short-termist marketers because they typically deliver high arse-covering ROI in the short term, but don’t deliver growth in the long term (and in some cases can be counter to growth – as even the most loyal of customers tend to become less loyal over time, ergo targeting these customers at the expense of acquisition can make the brand smaller) but that’s for the next marketing director to worry about.

The objective must be to reach as many buyers in the category as possible – most importantly the buyers of competing brands – because growth and profit comes from here, not from existing customers.

Because the purpose of brand advertising is not to persuade or coerce individuals but is to create brand salience - the propensity of the brand to be noticed or come to mind in buying situations by more people.

So the great thing about brand advertising is exactly that it is unable to deliver precision targeting and lacks quantifiable ROI.

If the old adage 50% percent of advertising is wasted, but we don’t know which 50% is true, then perhaps we could say the 50% that’s wasted is the 50% that actually works.

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