What is OpenAP and how it can help you reach your target market

For several years, we’ve been reticent to encourage clients to invest big bucks in television ads because the audience simply isn’t narrow enough to make the return on investment — which is often quite low after you factor in production overhead and distribution costs — worthwhile. While television was once a premium medium for advertisers thanks to high levels of viewer engagement, we have seen a sharp decline in effectiveness because viewers can easily tune out commercials when content isn’t relevant to them by turning their attention to their mobile phones, tablets, or laptops. For the digital marketer, this was an opportunity to prove why relevant and timely content is so important … and cash in along the way. For media distributors, it was nearly a death sentence.
The good news is that many major television companies have been aware of this issue and actively seeking ways to revitalize one of the most hallowed marketing channels in history. This spring, Viacom, Fox Networks Group, and Time Warner Cable finally came up with a viable solution. Instead of banking on the few big-ticket commercial opportunities to keep their coffers afloat (think: multi-million dollar placements during the Super Bowl), they have banned together to help small- and medium-sized businesses affordably reach their target audience.

Together, they launched, “OpenAP” – a new data platform that aggregates information from a variety of providers so advertisers can securely and collaboratively place ads within desirable demographics. Think: first-time home buyers, urban couples, pet owners, and more. Executive Vice President of Data Strategy for Viacom, Bryson Gordon explained the vision to Media Village in a recent interview: “It’s about the secure sharing of those consistent audience segments across publishers.  The advertiser or the agency will be able decide who can see the segment and how it gets shared with the publisher before activating it across their inventory.  It also gives the individual networks the independence to use their own proprietary datasets in conjunction with industry accepted measurement services, such as Nielsen and comScore.”

His vision is important for two main reasons.

First and foremost, it makes television advertising relevant again. For example, CNN historically runs advertisements focused on Baby Boomers because this generation comprises the majority of their viewership. Young professionals watching the news while getting ready for work yawn through advertisements for retirement planning, bladder control medication, and 55+ residential communities. The network’s blanket approach to advertising makes it easy for one of the most valuable, growing sources of disposable income in the market to simply tune out. OpenAP makes it possible to tailor these ads so Baby Boomers still enjoy relevant content, without alienating new or emerging demographics. Targeted content for targeted segments finally makes television advertising relevant for the individual, not the majority.

Second, because networks can merge their own data with shared data and link to other measurement tools, television ads will be measurable in a new and important way. Because advertisers previously had to rely on the “spray and pray” model when exposing content on television, it was hard to quantify how effective an advertisement really was because only a fraction of viewers might actually represent qualified leads. By limiting exposure and tracking performance, planning and measurement will naturally improve.

This is one of the first exciting breakthroughs the television ad space has seen in years, and it perfectly complements our belief that the future of customer-centric marketing hinges on a robust and choiceful cross-channel marketing approach. We’re excited to see TV getting back in the game and are here to help you craft your first segmented, trackable television ad. Get in touch with our media and strategy teams to learn more!

Why people live to eat (and are getting rewarded for it)

Forget a 15% tip … how about a 35% increase in restaurant guest visits? According to Loyalogy, top loyalty cards and program provider, that’s the expected uplift many restaurants enjoy when they introduce loyalty programs to their marketing mix. Discounts, point systems, loyalty cards, keychains, apps, social media offers, and memberships are just a few of the many ways restaurant marketing programs can leverage reward systems to drive business and boost foot traffic. To get you started, here are a few simple guidelines.

Simply ask:

After guests complete their meal, present them with a quick survey asking how their experience was and what types of rewards would motivate them to return on a regular basis. Keep it simple and straightforward so your guests are not annoyed with the survey experience. If you have difficulty getting customers to answer your survey, try incentivizing them with a discount or free dessert. You can guess at what motivates your customers, but it is faster, easier, and more accurate to simply ask. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive some operational insight that will help you improve your quality of service and overall restaurant experience.

Frequency rewards:

Frequency rewards, such as loyalty cards, are one of the most common ways to encourage guests to come back. Everyone from major hotels such as Starwood, to dining sites such as OpenTable – and, of course, restaurants – are using loyalty programs to keep guests coming back. The benefit of frequency rewards is that you are driving more visits that will offset any type of reward you choose to give. A simple break-even analysis will help you understand how many visits you need to accrue before a reward has paid for itself and brought you greater than expected revenue.

Lead with value:

Another option is to lead with value. Membership to restaurants and social clubs, such as the SoHo House brand, incentivizes visitors to come back by providing exclusive access to special menu items, spaces, or experiences. Whether members pay a fee to join or must meet a threshold of purchases to remain connected, your business will benefit. The key is understanding what extra value you can provide to members that they cannot get anywhere else. Cooking classes with a celebrity chef, members’ wine tasting events, or on-site performances are a few of the ways you might augment your traditional dining experience. Ideally, any exclusive experiences you offer would not incur additional or exorbitant fees to the day-to-day operations of the business, so consider what relationships or in-kind exchanges you can leverage to keep costs low.

Partner with existing programs:

Lastly, one of the easiest ways to build your rewards program is to partner with an organization that already has a membership or loyalty base. A raw juice bar may benefit from partnering with a nearby gym, for example. Consider what local partners naturally align with your restaurant and evaluate what they are doing to drive visits. By giving another organization access to your customer base, you can cross-market for each other and generate business that will benefit both brands. In addition to encouraging repeat visits, partnerships also give your brand exposure to customers that may not have discovered you otherwise.

If you still aren’t sure where to start, or need help kicking off your rewards program, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about how businesses like yours have partnered with BIGEYE to create loyalty programs that work. We strive to build brands by transforming their marketing strategies – check out our website to learn more about our services and contact information.

Why persona marketing is the key for your tourist destination

Whether guests visit your destination to stay in rustic, canvas yurts under the stars, or pay premium prices to be wined and dined by celebrity chefs and sommeliers — everyone is looking for something that fits their tastes, needs, and lifestyle. Persona marketing helps tourism and hospitality brands define their target audiences and set themselves apart from the competition by honing in on who really wants to visit their destinations. You don’t need to please everyone … you just have to please a select few.

Persona marketing unlocks destination discovery: 

There isn’t a “one size fits all” vacation model. There isn’t even an average standard for what vacations should look like. According to TripBarometer, only 34% of travelers in the United States fall into what is commonly defined as a “traditional,” or mainstream, travel category. The remaining 66% lean toward specialized travel subsets such as adventure or experiential travelers, solo, luxury, or service-oriented vacationers. As a marketer, you simply can’t make broad assumptions about who your target audience may be. You need to get narrow on who is most likely to visit your tourist destination, how they prefer to plan vacations, who they travel with, how they spend, when they go, and what they like. Personas are a great, actionable way to achieve this.

Persona marketing helps brands break away from dangerous generalizations and gain clarity about the demographics of the people most likely to visit their destination. The first thing people often decide when booking a vacation experience is where they want to travel. For this reason, persona marketing can be an especially effective means to promote your destination during this discovery period. For example, Costa Rica has become famous as a prime spot for eco-travelers and nature enthusiasts thanks to the country’s many treehouse resorts, surfing lodges, yoga retreats, zip-line courses, and sustainable tourism efforts. Tourist destinations in Costa Rica can leverage their position within this ecosystem by appealing to the specific personas who find these elements attractive. Knowing – and speaking directly to – the marketing persona that fits this profile allows brands to tailor their efforts to websites, journals, and blogs where viable prospects are already enjoying content. This reduces friction in the discovery process and reduces the amount of effort and time needed to secure a sale.

Tailored merchandising maximizes vacations and revenue:

Once you’ve attracted the attention of a potential persona and have a steady stream of visitors heading to your tourist destination, you can still use persona marketing to tailor the vacation experience on a deeper level. Consider a cruise ship. Cruisers are, in and of themselves, a certain type of travel persona: often, families with disposable annual income of $150K or more who are educated and want to see the world, but don’t want the hassle of planning the nuances of the trip themselves. Yet, within this persona, there are travelers who will naturally fall into a variety of sub-types: those who want to spend every day at the spa, those who want a steady-stream of kid-friendly activities, romantic couples, adventure seekers, water lovers, foodies, and bar flies. Knowing the personas that are attracted to your tourist destination and the nuances of the sub-types within those personas allows you to tailor your merchandising efforts for effectively so you can send spa discounts, dining recommendations, entertainment promotions, and event reminders to the right people at the right times.

Using persona marketing helps you make everyone’s vacation experience feel highly specialized and personal, which augments the tourist experience … and, of course, increases the chances that guests will spend (more) money at your site. In the United States, the majority of travelers cite “treating themselves” as a top priority when traveling, according to the Trekksoft travel blog. They look to sightseeing (53%), special dining (41%), accommodation (41%), activities (35%), and shopping (24%) respectively as the top areas to splurge. Knowing which of these items your guests are most interested in allows you to meet their needs and your bottom line.

Whether you already have a persona marketing strategy, or still need to define who your ideal target audience is, we are here to help. Contact us to learn more about the types of personas that fit your tourist destination. We can work with you to define the market and customer segmentation research needed to build and understand your personas, create a custom marketing plan around their needs, and track the results of how persona marketing can transform your tourist destination.

Hello from the other side: What is social listening?

Social listening is one of those magical, marketing buzzwords that seems to hold the key to customer information, new sales, and social engagement. But what is it? Whether you’re a new digital marketer or a seasoned business owner, understanding social listening (and knowing how to use it) can be a powerful tool in your toolbox. We know that wading through the myriad of marketing blogs and platforms can be daunting, so we’ve stripped down the jargon and confusion to give you the real deal on social listening.

What is social listening?

Social listening is a common marketing practice that involves auditing and collecting information your customers are saying about your brand online. This may include capturing comments about your brand on social media, cataloging reviews, combing through news articles, or monitoring blog posts. Often times, companies will score each comment based on whether it’s positive or negative, and whether it’s coming from an influential source or an insignificant channel. Social listening can give business owners insight into the types of brand associations their customers are organically building by considering who is speaking most frequently (i.e., mommy blogs vs. trade journals) and what their conversations are about.

What do you use social listening for?

Knowing whether your customers and prospective customers have a positive or negative opinion about your products, and what other products they’re comparing them to, can give you a clear picture into whether you’re effectively communicating your unique value proposition. Understanding who your customers are talking to and where they are discussing your products can also help you target a better, more valuable audience and serve them information and content where they are already surfing the web. This information allows you to address customer service issues, generate leads, and encourage viral sharing depending on how you respond to your findings. Social listening gives you an inside look into your customers’ mindset and helps you interact when them in a more authentic way.

Start listening in now

Although there are many tools that can help you conduct your own social listening, such as Hootsuite, the best, most reliable option is to partner with a social marketing agency. Agencies often have access to multiple listening tools, so you’ll get a broader, more holistic picture of the conversations taking place. Every good social marketing agency also has a team of experts monitoring and interpreting data as it comes in, so you can quickly and appropriately respond to positive or negative turns in the conversation. They can make recommendations on how to best respond, and tailor your future marketing campaigns to your customers’ needs.

Buzzwords aside, social listening is truly and incredible way to understand your customers’ psyche and learn how to interact with them. The process is easier than it seems, but immeasurably powerful when put to good use. They say that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason; and this maxim is especially true on the internet as you combat the endless stream of clutter and noise that might otherwise distract your customers…so contact our team of social strategists today to get listening and start learning!

 

What do you do when your audience ISN’T millennial?

We all know that staying competitive in the digital world means staying on top of new marketing trends, knowing when the latest SEO changes are taking place, and trail blazing new opportunities. But, if you are trying to focus on a more elderly market or targeting senior marketing initiatives, it’s important that you use market research to understand where your audience is spending their time online, how they are consuming digital content, and what types of senior marketing ads are relevant to their lives.

This year (or at least part of the year), forget about the millennials. We know, we know. We can hear your collective gasp from here. We are exaggerating a little bit. We only give this advice to organizations and brands that are targeting baby boomers, senior marketing, or non-technical natives. If that’s you: read on.

1. Use market research to target your senior marketing group

First and foremost: big data is your friend. We have never been able to glean a more precise understanding of what people are doing and where they are spending their time online than right now. This is important when you are targeting a group that may not consume digital content the way you intended them to. Older demographics may favor certain channels over others, adopt trends slower than digital natives, and more consistently start and complete their online journey on fewer devices. While this certainly isn’t always the case, it is a good foundation to begin building and testing into hypothesis to drive your digital sales motions. Use a little market research to guide where you believe people are entering your site, how best to target them, and why they may be having trouble completing sales farther down the funnel.

2. Start 2017 with “winback” senior ads

Another great use for market research within the senior subset is for winbacks. In short: do your homework. Cross reference information about your target audience with your competitive set to understand why you may have lost some customers over the past year, then target and differentiate yourself to win them back. Market research is especially helpful when you are trying to avoid a downstream price war or want to avoid competing on price alone. Remember, when you’re targeting Baby Boomers, you have the luxury to focus on value rather than price because they still hold the top spot as the demographic with the most disposable income in the market.

3. Market research unlocks product innovation within the senior marketing group

In the same way that market research can help you determine which customers are most likely to come back to your brand, it can also help you understand if (and where) you fall short against your competition. Use market research to understand how important certain features or services are, how valuable your product and others like it are perceived to be, and what secondary targets might be interested in your brand. This information can help you expand your market share by depending loyalty within your older segment and preparing for the next generation of customers.

But don’t take our word for it. Click here to discover ways market research has helped our clients like you and get back to basics today.

Why your business should care about lookalike targeting

Has a friend ever asked you what you think of their new girlfriend and found yourself at a loss for words because she looks exactly like their ex? You’re not alone. The reason is that people are predictable. As humans, we tend to gravitate toward what is familiar. People who share our values and trends that aren’t too far from what we already know and like. As marketers, though, this is a very good thing.
Lookalike targeting allows you to take advantage of this by marketing to audiences that behave similarly to your most valuable customers. This increases the chances of these customers noticing and engaging with your brand. Because we can’t be everywhere at once, or market to every audience effectively, lookalike targeting allows you to go after your most likely wins first and invest resources in the most likely path of success.

FIRST, WHAT IS LOOKALIKE TARGETING:

Because past performance is the best indication of future success, lookalike targeting serves content to potential customers who are searching, surfing, and interacting in similar ways to your target audience. Similar search patterns won’t necessarily cause customers to purchase your products, but the expectation is that these users are similar enough to your actual customers. This means they might be interested in your brand. Lookalike targeting also seeks out audiences who fall into similar sociodemographic categories that might serve as a benchmark weeding tool to ensure your messaging is reaching the right people. For example, if your brand targets pregnant women, simple lookalike targeting reaches women similar to your customers – likely between the ages of 20-50. They are searching similar baby brands on social media and far more likely to purchase than open advertising campaigns.

IS THIS LEGAL AND HOW CAN I GET IN ON THE ACTION:

Lookalike targeting is completely legal. Facebook’s ads manager allows you to very specifically and effectively engage in lookalike targeting with costs in line along with other advertising options. Thanks to the growing popularity of social sign on (an option where people can sign up for websites or newsletters with their social media accounts rather than entering their email and a password), we have the ability to track who is surfing for what even once they leave your site.

A customer might sign on to their favorite blog using their Facebook account, and then log on to Amazon using that same Facebook account. And Facebook aggregates it all. People are willing to forgo a level of privacy for the convenience and efficiency of social sign on. But there’s nothing nefarious going on here. The more we know about our web traffic, the better, more relevant content we can serve them. Which makes the browsing experience better all around.

HOW WE CAN HELP:

Once you have an amazing, primed audience you need to serve them amazing content. We’ll help you strike a balance between being too similar to your competition, but not so dissimilar that you lose these lookalikes’ interest. Audience is a big part of the equation, but content is still king (and always will be). Lookalike targeting is great for businesses on a budget to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts without wasting money talking to people who will likely never buy your products. It’s a way to be everywhere you need to be, without trying to be everywhere at once, and a great way to give yourself a little competitive advantage.

Click here to learn more about the types of content we’ve created for clients like you or set up a free consultation to learn how we can target the right prospective customers.