What is People-Based Marketing All About?

28 Sep 2018

What if consumers could discover and explore your brand through personalized conversations that move seamlessly across all devices? What if you could make them feel like they are understood and valued every time they click on your ads or read your newsletter? In an increasingly digital world, you can do all these things and much more. 

Technology is constantly evolving. We live in a world where the only constant is change. Customers are engaging with brands across many connection points. They no longer follow a single path to conversion. Their journey is non-linear. Your job as a marketer is to customize their journey, one step at a time. 

People-based marketing is the answer. This approach goes beyond cookies and devices. It allows brands to target real people in real life situations. After all, customers aren’t constrained by the boundaries of a screen, so why should you be?

Understanding the People-Based Marketing Ecosystem

Whether we’re talking about TV advertising, online advertising, or direct mail, the goal has always been the same: to reach the right audience, in the right context, at the right time, and thereby increase sales and customer engagement.

With advances in technology, customers’ attention and time are becoming more and more fragmented, which poses new challenges. Data gaps, over-targeting, inaccurate reporting, and the proliferation of devices only make things more difficult. The average person owns nearly four devices[1], which makes it hard to accurately target their actions and buying intention. 

Throwing money after impressions without really knowing if it’s going to work is no longer an option. Your customers are more than just a cookie, device, impression, segment, or data point. The only way to reach them is to talk directly to them, not to profiles or cookies. That’s where people-based marketing comes in. 

This approach is all about connecting with the right people at the right time rather than targeting devices. As a result, you’ll reach your best customer and increase your revenue. Moreover, you will get better results from your campaigns and avoid costly advertising mistakes. 

According to Miquel Matthys, Bisnode’s Group Product Manager for Digital Advertising, people-based marketing means putting a face on a device, a mailbox, or a phone number. 

This strategy gives marketers the right insights and provides a full identity-based 360° overview of the customer. Advertisers can now target real people with real needs and wants, not just devices. This is Bisnode’s approach to marketing. Smart data is what makes everything possible. 

Where Digital Marketing Fails 

Organizations worldwide are realizing that marketing is moving beyond browsers and cookies, and that, with the right data and technology, they can get a better understanding of customer behavior. Cookies are not people, but anonymous footprints. Different customers can have the same online behavior but look and act completely differently. 

In a recent interview, Matthys provided a real-life example. 

Let’s say you’re browsing Amazon to buy a children’s book or toys for your nephew. You have no kids and no intention of purchasing other children’s products anytime soon. Yet, weeks later, you’re still seeing ads featuring toys and coloring books just because your cookies were stored and used by advertisers. 

In this case, the companies that pay for those ads are wasting their money. Every time you see their ads, they pay for impressions. 

That’s why cookies are not an accurate indicator of customer behavior. Plus, customers use multiple devices, platforms, and channels, and make offline purchases. This makes it difficult to track their actions – and hence, the results of your marketing campaign. 

Gone are the days when people would spend most of their online time on a single PC or smartphone. The typical customer might click your ad on his laptop, check your product later from his smartphone, and go to the nearest store to purchase it. Or he might look for products and services on behalf of a friend, with no intention of buying them himself. 

If you rely solely on cookies and impressions, you’re wasting money. Plus, most cookies have a short lifespan. They usually expire within 30 to 60 days. A potential client could see your ad today and purchase your product months later when he really needs it or has enough savings. This means you won’t have an accurate picture of his online behavior and journey on your site. 

Additionally, cookies are not people-specific, but device-specific. Two people could share a computer, or use several browsers. Not to mention that some browsers, such as Safari, don’t allow cookies on smartphones and tablets. As a result, all that mobile traffic is being lost. 

Considering these aspects, it’s no wonder why more than half of online campaigns fail to reach their target audience[2]. Furthermore, a whopping 58 percent of cookie-based tracking is overstated[3]

Advertisers who are still using this outdated approach miss out on a huge opportunity for growth. They also lose time and money. 

People-based marketing, on the other hand, is a win-win for everyone. The publisher or the media agency gets more revenue from the same number of impressions, the advertiser pays for fewer people but achieves better results, and the customer feels valued and understood. 

Why People-Based Marketing is the New Gold Standard 

This marketing method works so well because it leverages data and technology to reach customers across different channels. It also provides real-time insights that can be used to make better decisions based on online and offline experiences alike. 

With a sound customer identity as their foundation, marketers can now engage and connect with customers in each phase of their journey. This allows them to deliver more meaningful messages than ever, across every device, every channel, at the right time – all designed for a real person with unique characteristics. 

According to Matthys, people-based marketing is the answer to the challenges that exist today in digital advertising. Since online behavior is fragmented, marketers can only create a fragmented profile of their ideal customer. Basically, they create a profile of a device, not an actual person. With people-based marketing, customer identity and behavior come first. 

When you approach marketing in the traditional way, you can only hope to reach your target audience. For instance, you could be using TV commercials and hoping that the right person is watching. Yet, only a small number of those who see your ads are actually interested in your products and services. 

People-based marketing takes the opposite approach. As an advertiser, you’re first analyzing who the target customer is. Once you get enough data, you can reach out to him through TV ads, direct mail, programmatic display advertising, and so on. 

What’s important is that, the moment you launch a campaign, you know who you’ll reach out to. This is the essence of people-based marketing. 

Make the Most Out of Your Advertising Efforts 

Without a doubt, people-based marketing is the gold standard in advertising. Organizations worldwide are investing in technologies that allow them to define customer identity and behavior so they can optimize their marketing efforts. Reaching your best customer has never been easier. 

You may be thinking that this approach is too complex and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. At Bisnode, our goal is to help you make the most out of your advertising efforts by leveraging smart data. 

When you work with us, your campaigns will take a leap to the cutting edge of data-driven marketing. Whether you’re targeting individual customers or organizations, our experts will drive your business forward by creating a unique, powerful mix of data aimed at your specific needs. This will allow you to reach new prospects with deeper insights through profiling, optimize your marketing messages, and track your campaigns with greater accuracy. 

Everybody wins with people-based marketing – brands, publishers, and customers alike. Your audience has never been more accessible, yet harder to understand and reach. The only way to delve into customer behavior is to use the right data and identity fact-based strategies. 

Bisnode can help. Contact us today to optimize your media spending and reinforce your advertising with best-in-class targeting capabilities! 



[1] https://blog.globalwebindex.net/chart-of-the-day/digital-consumers-own-3-64-connected-devices/

[2] https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/12/15/online-campaign-targeting/

[3] https://www.inc.com/james-paine/why-people-based-marketing-is-future.html/