Audience Development: Relevancy Fuels Success in Digital Marketing
Audience developers, it is time to reboot digital marketing strategies. Let's evaluate how the customer relationship is changing given new technology, increasing digital channels and consumers who are more selective. Matching content, topic and format to digital channels profoundly impacts audience development—and doing so requires an understanding of multiple digital disciplines and increasingly sophisticated customer intelligence. Don't think opportunity, think requirement.
Ben Elowitz, co-founder and CEO of Wetpaint, recently wrote on Paidcontent.org that content can be worth 10x more to a publisher with a good digital distribution strategy versus a bad one or no distribution strategy. Digital strategy is critical to creating relevancy, which underpins digital marketing. One has to look no further than Facebook or Google to understand the potential impact of relevancy.
Digital relevancy does not necessarily mean more marketing campaigns—in fact, it can mean the opposite. Less is more effective if it is targeted and delivered at the right time across Web, social and mobile channels.
Data drives personalization and one-on-one experience, which increases relevancy. It is data from which you can learn, build, scale back and adapt digital delivery and marketing. It is critical to capture and leverage behavioral data by measuring who interacts with what, where and how. Try to collect fragmented data. This helps you frame groups or clusters of individuals and market to individuals, instead of a homogeneous, broad audience. Use data to listen carefully to your audience then market to them based on the data.
Digital channels are pipelines to distribute content and market to your audience with relevancy. Using the data referenced above, your audience development digital plans and campaigns should include a macro view. Multiple digital channels such as your website, social, video sites, search, news feeds, tweets, pins, etc. feed customer intelligence. Avoid fragmentation (splinternet) by building out distribution and marketing integration across channels that attempts to be seamless.
Digital marketing must incorporate real time. Real time builds relevance, a key driver used to build and engage audience. How your audience interacted with your content last month, last week or even yesterday is of no value unless you optimize that information as to how they interact with you now, in real time. Relevancy can change by the hour or the minute; contextual marketing enables you to deliver the best message when it offers the most value to your visitor or customer. And mobile has taken relevancy to the next level…on the go, enabling you to deliver content and marketing messages when an individual is most receptive.
Social media is a conduit to building relevancy with customers and prospects. The key to utilizing social marketing is to operate with short- and long-term views and goals. Short-term is a campaign or promotion that seeks to garner sales/customers or prospects now. Short-term means every time you launch a campaign you are starting over. Long-term grows relationships with people that influence others; it's more organic. A challenge with social is that it is labor intensive and not easily scalable. Many companies are decentralizing social now and enabling many within the company to be social marketers through training and work tools.
Scott Karp of Publish2, a seasoned digital strategist and marketer, recently wrote, "With every revolution in production, there is a corresponding revolution in digital distribution." By employing a laser-focus understanding of your audience, you can build a digital strategy that delivers the right content to the right person at the right time in the right package.
Relevance drives relationships. It is the fuel to build an engaged and loyal audience that generates not just numbers and gross revenue, but real value and profitability for your brand. PE
Lou Ann Sabatier is Principal at Sabatier Consulting, which provides digital advice including strategy, workshops, training, audits, research and marketing.
Lou Ann Sabatier has 35 years of experience in the publishing industry. Ms. Sabatier has been deeply involved in all aspects of publishing; including strategic planning,business development, business and financial management, audience development, advertising sales, digital media and operations management. Currently Ms. Sabatier is Principal at Sabatier Consulting and Communications Director of 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.