Three Keys to Reaching Your Ideal Consumer

By: Joe Ferrill, Product Director, Valassis Digital
Published Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016

Three Keys to Reaching Your Ideal Consumer

What, How and When

What advertising channel should you use to reach your ideal consumer? How do you find your ideal consumer? When is the right time to send an advertisement so that your ideal consumer will take action? These are tough questions – this post will explore the answers.

What:  One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Let’s start with channel. Some brands and retailers prefer sending print advertisements to a consumer’s home. Others prefer a digital approach, delivering display advertisements to a consumer’s laptop, tablet and/or mobile phone. Still others pursue a cross-channel print and digital approach to span consumer media preferences. In the end, it’s not about what the advertiser prefers – it’s about what resonates with your ideal consumer.

The consumer who immediately recycles your print advertisement responds positively to a display advertisement on her phone. Likewise, the person who is annoyed by advertisements in his web browser just called the phone number in your print advertisement.

Consumers are not homogenous - why take a “one size fits all” advertising approach by limiting your campaigns to a single media type?

How:  Build Look Alike + Act Alike Audiences

Next, consider location. With digital technology you can be very precise in targeting audiences within certain geographies. However, when targeting consumers for offline (print) campaigns, there’s less specificity. Does this sound familiar?:

We use a three-mile radius around each of our stores. Then, we find consumers who look like this: household income $50,000 - $70,000 and presence of children in the household.

Here are two assumptions in that approach you should examine:

Assumption 1: What’s magical about a three-mile radius? Perhaps your sales data suggests that your customers live within that radius around your store locations. Is it possible that your prospective customers live outside that three-mile radius? If so, how do you find where they live?

Assumption 2: Demographics are helpful to describe consumers who look alike, but they can’t describe consumers who act alike. Just as you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, you can’t assume consumers who share a demographic profile (i.e. look alike) will behave the same way (i.e. act alike). Wouldn’t it make sense to combine demographics, psychographics and behavior all together to get a real world profile of your ideal consumer?

Smart phones are the key to help address both of these assumptions, and in the process, improve your ability to target print advertising campaigns. Mobile location history provides insight to consumers who have been near your store location. Combining smart phone GPS location coordinates with how frequently a smart phone shows up in a location can infer a consumer’s home geography. Web browsing and app usage on a smart phone creates a profile of interests that describe act alike behavior.

When:  It’s All About Timing

Last, when is the best time to reach your ideal consumer? Don’t constrain your response to this question by thinking about time of day, day of week, or season of the year. It’s more fundamental than that. The best time to reach a consumer is when he or she is in market to buy your product or service. How can you tell when a consumer is in market to buy? One way is to look at consumers’ online behavior. Which websites do they use to research your product or service category? Are they visiting store locations that carry your products? Online behavior is an indicator of purchase consideration. 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Use cross-channel advertising to appeal to diverse consumer preferences;

  2. Use web page visits, mobile app use and mobile location history to inform targeting for print media campaigns; and

  3. Use online behavior signals to determine when consumers are in market to buy your product or service.