You know the #1 rule in marketing, right? KNOW THY CUSTOMER.
And the best marketing campaigns are the ones that are able to get into the minds of their customers. If your message can get the customer to think: “That’s what I was thinking” or “That’s exactly how I feel” or “That’s what I’ve been looking for”, you’ll likely have a winner in your hands.
Therefore, it’s typically for the first step in crafting any ad or marketing campaign is to create your customer avatar. Digital Marketer has shared a nice template, available as a free download here.
John Carlton (“The most respected and ripped off copywriter alive”) frames it as a “Bar conversation” and he talks about it in this podcast. The gist of it is that you’re at a bar, minding your own business, and your “Perfect Prospect” walks in and sits down on the stool next to you.
“Hey Susie, line me up a double, I’ve had an awful day.”
“Wow, what happened today?”, Susie, the bartender, replies.
What the person says next holds the keys to crafting your message.
The challenge here is that everybody is unique and may describe their challenges/emotions in different ways. It can be difficult to find the right balance between broad applicability and hyper-personalized, 1-to-1 messaging.
I’d argue that the vast majority of ad spend, particularly brand marketing, is too broad, targeting a large demographic. Companies will create focus groups and talk to a sampling of their target audience to try and have this “Bar conversation” and test the reactions to different campaign messages.
Let me switch gears for a second.
Do you play Poker? As a player, you’re trying to induce your opponent(s) into taking an action (either folding, or betting more – when you believe that you have a stronger hand). Professional poker players know all the odds (the statistical probabilities). They may have also studied their opponents’ tendencies. Poker players will stare down their opponent(s), looking for a “Tell” – an indication of which cards he/she may be holding.
In Texas Hold’em, you have information in the form of your cards, the community cards, any previous actions (bets). This is basic information.
A player could shift the odds tremendously in their favor if they just knew ONE of the cards that their opponent held. Actually, they could shift the odds by just knowing a couple cards that aren’t in play (i.e., what other players folded or what’s in the deck).
The main point is that these types of players are actively seeking additional information about their opponent(s) so that they can make smarter decisions (to induce an action).
Now, to switch back to marketing.
The poker analogy I just described explains how having more information about your customer empowers you to make better decisions to induce them. That’s what analytics and being data-driven is all about, right? It’s using data to support a decision.
Would it help your marketing initiatives if you knew, for example:
- Where the customer is in the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision)?
- The probability that the customer will buy Jeans vs. a Blouse?
- The customer is exhibiting the same behaviors as thousands before them who eventually bought something?
- Those customers coming to the site from the “Facebook Free Trial” campaign are showing a higher propensity to subscribe?
- The likelihood for the customer to call and ask to cancel their subscription?
You don’t have to create focus groups for this because your customers are talking to you every day. They are communicating to you through their actions and their behaviors. Every time someone visits your site or opens your app, they are leaving breadcrumbs and feeding your clickstream data.
Machine Learning can surface customer information in the form of Algorithmic Customer Segmentation, Product Recommendations, Propensity Scoring, Attribution Modeling, Churn Analysis, and so much more. Furthermore, it’s Marketing AI Platforms which utilize machine learning to discover the information you need about your customers so that you can make smarter decisions for your business.
It’s Marketing AI Platforms which utilize machine learning to discover the information you need about your customers so that you can make smarter decisions for your business.
With today’s technologies, this is all low-hanging fruit. You don’t need a large team to implement AI and you can have it delivered in weeks. Yes, it’s absolutely possible.
Just don’t forget that behaviors change all the time. You can’t set it and forget it. It’s AI-Assisted, so humans are required!