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The Digital Divide…Are you ‘over-targeting?’

The very thing that makes digital advertising so appealing is the same thing that has eroded its effectiveness.

Every company wants to target the person who is most interested in their product, and eliminate as much ‘waste’ as possible.  In theory, it sounds perfectly sound…determine your target market, and zero down on it as much as possible.

However, after so many years of digital proliferation the results have not caught up to the expectation.  Even with the most sophisticated forms of digital targeting such as behavioral targeting, re-targeting, and so on, digital advertising has not delivered the results it has promised.

 Why is that?

The 5 reasons your digital targeting campaigns are not as effective as you expected them to be.

 1 )        The consumer doesn’t know you.  When marketers spend little to no time communicating with the consumer prior to the purchasing decision moment, they build no ‘top of mind’ awareness.   Consumers generally migrate to brands they are more familiar with, or decide to purchase from a ‘new’ brand based on their perception.  If they have no prior exposure, marketers have very little influence in that decision making process.

2)         The consumer feels somewhat violated.  At this point, most consumers realize when they are being retargeted, or are receiving emails because of a recent online search.  While the ads may be relevant, no one likes to be ‘followed’.  It can feel intrusive and push the consumer away.

3)         The consumer knows what’s best for them.  Consumer’s can ‘filter’ messages for themselves.  Even if they don’t know what they want, consumers want to be able to make their own choices and act on messages they are exposed to accordingly.  Even the best marketers don’t know what the consumers are thinking, or what they are planning for next.   When marketers disregard the consumer at the ‘top of the funnel’, they may never get a chance to engage with them at the bottom of the funnel. 

4)         The consumer does not engage with your ads.  Speaking of engagement, digital advertising remains the easiest form of media to dismiss.  While there is no doubt the consumer sees the ads on their screens, making a real ‘impression’ or holding the viewers/listener’s attention, remains extremely difficult in the digital landscape.

5)         The clutter from 1,000 other advertisers.  Because digital is ‘cheap’, everybody does it.  There is little credibility from digital advertising, and to stand out, requires much more effort than it would to stand out on traditional advertising mediums.  Once a consumer gets bombarded with 100 emails for a new car, they tend to ignore all of them.

The answer: Keep a ‘tradigital’ approach that leverages traditional media to drive digital for maximum results.  The traditional media will brand your company’s name and keep you to of mind.  The messages will alert consumers of products and services you offer, even if they’re not currently in the market for them.  When the consumer is ready or in the market, your brand will have a better chance to compete for their business.

The Best Tactics: Leverage traditional media to pull consumers in by offering free products or services, such as a consultation or coupon that does not expire.  Asking consumers to sign up for informational newsletters, and other valuable resources are also great ways of building your funnel, and engaging the 98% of your audience that is currently not in the market for your products or services. This is where digital performs best.

The take-away: Over targeting with digital means you’re speaking to the consumer only when they’re ready to buy.  If you haven’t made any effort to build a relationship prior to that point, you better hope that consumer is happy to make an impulse buy because that’s essentially your best chance at that point.  Don’t let the digital divide keep you from properly building your consumer base and expanding your share of market.

John Garcia - March 28, 2017

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