People-Based Marketing: Top 5 Tips to Make it Work for Your Business

05 Oct 2018

People-based marketing has been gaining momentum ever since it became common for each of us to switch between multiple devices on a daily basis. This concept makes perfect sense in the era of the empowered customer. Now more than ever before, it’s critical to build individual human connections across all channels through meaningful marketing messages. 

Today, people have computers at work and at home, use their smartphones on the go, and surf the Web through a myriad of apps and browsers. Digital technology is evolving at lightning speed. Unfortunately, the tracking tools this industry has relied on for years, such as cookies, cannot keep up with these changes. 

More than 88 percent of customers want to engage with brands that are striving to meet their expectations by setting new standards in their advertising efforts. About 56 percent feel more loyal to organizations that show a deep understanding of their needs and wants[1]

In today’s digital world, these people interact with your brand across a multitude of devices, touch points, and channels – and they expect a personalized experience. 

As a marketer, you must tweak your approach to customer acquisition and retention. To do so, it’s necessary to look beyond devices and engage with real people. They want you to earn their loyalty and get to know them. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind. 

At Bisnode, we enable smart decisions to help you succeed. Our people-based marketing approach provides companies with the tools and knowledge they need to reach the best customers across all channels, in the right context. That’s why we’re going to share our favorite strategies to kick-start your marketing campaign. Let’s dive in! 

Leverage Offline Data 

Offline and online data are equally important for developing a people-based marketing plan. When combined with mobile identification intelligence and online customer information, advertisers can maximize offline data to define their target audience. 

Whenever a customer signs up for a brand’s newsletter or ties his email address to a store’s loyalty program, his buying behavior patterns can be tracked. Advertisers can use this data to determine psychographic, geographic, and demographic traits, such as: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • City
  • Household income
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies and interests 

For years, marketers segmented audiences based on offline data, which is powerful on its own. When used along with online data, its value is amplified. 

Maximize Online Data 

Smart data is paramount in people-based marketing. The information you collect online can provide authentic insights into customer behavior. However, not any data will do. 

With the rise of multi-channel marketing, tracking cookies and devices is not enough. Plus, a large database alone doesn’t necessarily provide accurate insights into your audience. Analyzing and organizing your data at a profile level is the key to success. 

Let’s say a customer finds the perfect cocktail dress while shopping online in the summer. She decides to postpone her purchase and buys the dress three months later when it’s on sale. 

If she uses her smartphone to make the purchase, you can no longer use the initial cookies to track her online journey because they have long since expired. Perhaps she uses a different device, or even visits a local store to buy the dress she has seen online. 

The customer in question is a multi-channel shopper – just like two-thirds of all customers[2]. This means she uses more than one channel to buy a product or service. Young customers are likely to use at least three channels to make a purchase. 

As a marketer, it’s necessary to look beyond devices and interact with customers across different platforms. This requires both online and offline data. You need to understand customer attributes and behaviors so you can tailor your message accordingly. 

Look Beyond First-Party Data 

First-party data allows companies to engage with prospects and get a better insight into their needs. However, this data alone isn’t enough to fully understand your audience. Relying solely on it makes it hard to track the customers who interacted with your brand online but purchased elsewhere. To get the full picture, it’s essential to seek context from second and third-party data. 

Combining Bisnode’s quality data with your own first-party data and the available online data creates a 360° picture of your customers. This allows for better targeting and helps maximize your ROI. Once you have access to all this data, you can target only those customers who are most likely to buy your products. 

Build a Custom Audience 

The next step is to build a custom audience for your business based on data. Basically, you need to determine what the ideal customer looks like. 

Let’s say you’re selling cutting-edge smartwatches for women with an active lifestyle. Your target audience could include customers who: 

  • Are female
  • Live in Stockholm
  • Earn 50,000+ Euros per year
  • Are married with children
  • Are active on business-related websites
  • Emphasize efficiency and functionality
  • Engage in regular exercise
  • Recently downloaded your fitness app or clicked on one of your online ads 

Try to figure out what characteristics are relevant and play a role in the purchasing process. Also, consider the audience’s knowledge of the subject matter. 

For example, a sedentary woman or one who rarely goes to the gym might not be interested in a cutting-edge smartwatch. She just wants to drop a few pounds or stay in shape. One who engages in regular exercise is more likely to look for advanced gadgets – especially if they include functionality, such as the ability to make calls, access the Internet, and navigate via built-in GPS. 

These features come at a price, so you need to target customers who can afford them. Business professionals and female entrepreneurs are your best bet. They value efficiency and functionality as well as multitasking. 

Once you have defined the perfect customer, create “look-alike audiences” of your best existing customers. The best prospects are the ones who fall under this category. However, this doesn’t mean that every potential client should tick all the boxes on your list. 

According to Miquel Matthys, Bisnode’s Group Product Manager in Digital Advertising, the ideal buyer isn’t necessarily the one who meets all of your requirements. If a customer ticks four out of six boxes, he might be a good fit. 

For instance, if you’re selling SUVs, your best buyer could be a female entrepreneur in her 30s, a middle-aged man who got a raise, or a couple in their 50s who have just retired and want to travel. 

By focusing on just one of these groups and excluding the others, you’re missing out on a large market – and potential sales. 

Personalize Your Message 

Next, create and personalize your message based on the target audience, platform, marketing goals, and other parameters. This will optimize the omnichannel experience and increase your reach. Plus, it will help you determine how customers respond to individual touch points. 

In this process, consider your audience’s online behavior, their preferred mode of communication, and favorite sources of information. Also, think about their previous purchase history with the type of product you are selling. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What people influence the customer’s purchase decisions?
  • What barriers may impede him from buying the product?
  • Are there any preconceptions or experiences that may affect his opinion about the product? 

You also need to identify why people would want to buy your products or services. Learn to differentiate between features and value. 

Let’s say you’re selling a specific type of car. Anti-lock brakes are a feature, but safety is the benefit to the customer. If your makeup products are organic, that’s a feature. The benefit to the customer is healthier skin and reduced exposure to chemicals. 

Make sure your message emphasizes the product’s features while explaining how they benefit customers. If you only say that your laptops are equipped with SSDs, this information may not mean much to the average person. But if your marketing message explains that solid-state drives (SSD) enable faster speeds, better performance, and superior durability, it will be more appealing to those who are not tech-savvy. 

Apply these concepts to all your marketing materials, whether they are blog posts, ads, or TV commercials. Personalized emails, for instance, deliver six times higher conversion rates[3]. Therefore, it’s worth crafting newsletters and promotional emails that are tailored to your specific audience. If you’re targeting different groups of customers, create personalized newsletters for each. 

Remember that your customers and prospects want to be treated as individuals with unique traits. Brands that personalize online experiences see a staggering 19 percent increase in sales[4]. Plus, up to 80 percent of buyers are more likely to engage with a brand that offers a personalized experience[5]

Need inspiration? Check out popular brands that deliver personalized messages. Nuffield Health, for example, built targeted marketing landing pages, each featuring a specific message and targeting a specific traffic channel[6]. The company’s conversion rates increased from less than one percent to over eight percent. 

In 2014, Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign[7] led to a seven percent increase in young adult consumption and 12 million media impressions. Matsmart, a Swedish sustainable food retailer, experienced an 84 percent increase in website revenue after launching a series of campaigns segmented by their audience’s demographics[8]

Let your audience know that you’re paying attention to them. Customers not only expect but also value personalized content. Talk to people, not devices or data points. 

Take the Guesswork out of Digital Advertising 

In this digital age, advertising technology aims to match consumers’ cross-device habits. Marketers must look beyond devices and cookies to reach their target audience. This approach offers a solution to the challenges that digital advertising presents. Brands benefit from lasting, durable customer profiles that can be leveraged across the web, television, mobile, and other channels. 

We’ve entered a new marketing era where advertisers are using the insights from real people to make business decisions. This enables more accurate measurement of reach and eliminates unnecessary spending. With the right data, marketers can create a customized audience who is ready and eager to buy. 

Are you ready to embrace this innovative concept? Take the guesswork out of digital advertising and contact us today

Bisnode’s experts can help you get a better insight into the customer’s journey and deliver highly personalized messages. We give you access to the exact audiences you want to reach while tracking the results of your campaigns.