Jason Ramb, president of Bigeye.

Jason Ramb, president of Bigeye.

In the world of marketing and advertising, targeting is everything.

The days of blanketing a neighborhood with direct mail or running a TV campaign based on some broad demographic data seem almost quaint these days. The proliferation of mobile devices and refinement of data analytics offer companies a world of new possibilities.

That's one reason hyper-targeted campaigns have gained so much traction. Digital tools now allow us to identify and target potential consumers with a level of precision that would have been considered unthinkable just two decades ago.

Targeting, of course, is just one part of the equation. If you identify the perfect prospects but then deliver a marketing message that is utterly uninspired, you've done a lot of work for what will likely be a marginal payoff.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at how hyper-targeted campaigns work, and the value that is gained by pairing them with exceptional creative.

The Era of Precision Targeted Ads

Today most of us are bombarded with ads. To slice through the fog, it takes two things: An ad that is highly relevant and deeply compelling.

Relevance is directly proportional to targeting. If you rigorously research your audience and understand them at a deeper level, you can deliver marketing messages that are designed to resonate. So how does one begin that process? By building accurate audience profiles through aggregated data. Here are a few of the most common data sources:

Behavioral data. This method gleans information about the websites someone visits, the searches they've conducted, the purchases they made etc. This information can be used to target consumers in real-time via programmatic advertising.

Registration and profile information. Consumers supply a wealth of data when they sign up for new services and register products. Profile data, from social media accounts and other sources, is typically much richer information. Something as simple as a Facebook like can be turned into actionable information for developing a targeted ad.

Third party data. Data brokers have come to play a critical role in the advertising world, as the amount of information they've scraped, collected, bought and sold is truly extraordinary. While data brokers are often a source of very in-depth information, tighter restrictions on the role of data brokers have recently been introduced by social media platforms and government regulators.

How to Implement Targeted Data

In addition to a vast proliferation in the amount of data we have available, the means by which consumers can be targeted have also become simpler and more effective. One example: A beauty salon can choose to run a targeted marketing campaign on Facebook using that platform's basic targeting tools. Custom audiences can be built from the desired attributes of a business, then featured ads are delivered to those who align with those attributes. Facebook allows advertisers to target by location, behavior, demographics, interest and other factors.

Google also offer a robust set of targeting tools. Audiences can be targeting according to demographics, search behavior, affinity or past brand interactions. Google also allows brands to target by content type, as they can tailor keywords to identify and target those most likely to be in the market for their products and services.

While these tools put the power of targeting in the hands of almost any enterprise, working with a creative agency can help businesses develop a much more robust, multi-channel targeting strategy that incorporates a variety of data sources and customer research/profiling techniques.

The Need for Excellent Creative 

As mentioned above, finding the right person in their preferred channel when they are prepared to convert is a powerful step -- but it's likely to be a futile one if you drop the ball on creative. 

Hyper-targeted marketing content still needs to be compelling. It must make a powerful case for the superiority of your product or service -- or at least intrigue the viewer enough to initiate a micro-conversion and bring them to your website or generate some other form of lead.

This combination -- hyper-targeted marketing supported by dynamic creative that truly resonates with the viewer -- is the gold standard for modern digital marketing. By focusing on these two simple elements, you can help ensure that your business connects with the right potential customers and serves them a message that moves them to action.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.