We Are No Longer Marketing To Consumers

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Marketing is a constantly shifting landscape. What we do today — what we can do today — would have been unimaginable to most people just 10 years ago.

The technology available today means there is so much more we are capable of doing, and to be successful, we must start doing it. Once upon a time, Henry Ford’s idea was to make one good car in one colour. It worked then. But that strategy won’t sell cars today. Cars have changed. Consumers have changed. The world has changed.

A decade ago, word of mouth was the big thing. Even that has evolved. Today we have word of mouth coupled with a plethora of tools to broadcast it, giving consumers not just control over messaging, but over distribution as well.


We have arrived at a point in history where nearly everyone is broadcasting their every experience in some way. We are constantly feeding into our various devices and they are feeding off of us. Smart devices have spread across nearly every culture and household.

We are, as a people, more tech savvy and more connected than ever before. And yet, also more concerned with our privacy than ever before.

We are mastering the art of social media and digital marketing, yet the game is constantly changing. Who is the real master of the game? Are we, as marketers, in charge, or are consumers leading the way? If the consumer is in charge, who are we marketing to? Is marketing static? Are we shooting at moving targets?

The answer, is we are no longer marketing to consumers. We are marketing to behaviours.

Consumers are not static groups. They are not one dimensional. For marketers, they are a dynamic collection of varying behaviours. And the insight we have into those behaviours is immense.

Marketing to behaviours means marketing to a series of demands, habits, visits and more.

It is the collective information that we strive to attain, interpret and act on. It is the full use of all real time data, while cross-referencing it with RTB (real time bidding) and programmatic ad-buying.

The ads, copy, displays and all creative we generate is with a specific behaviour or set of behaviours in mind. We attempt to predict them, understand them and influence them.

For marketers, behaviours are the collection of data from a consumer’s everyday life. We currently collect information from consumers every minute of every day. In the past, we relied on surveys and feedback to gather that data, which was hardly accurate. What a consumer said they did or liked in a survey could be vastly different from their actual, real life behaviours. Today, we gather data from the source. We can track and interpret actual behaviour and patterns in behaviour in real life and real time.

A behaviour is a collection of:

  • Social Inputs:

  2. Dislikes
  3. Favorites
  4. Follows
  5. Unfollows
  7. Tweets and retweets
  8. Watching/videos
  9. Pages
  11. Chats
  12. Messages
  13. Pictures
  14. Sites and web properties
  15. Visits
  16. Time spent on a site
  17. Bounces
  18. Sources of traffic

  • Subscriptions and feeds

  1. Email sign-ups
  2. Site registrations
  3. Feeds/RSS
  • Conversions and traffic flow
  • Attributions and attribution modeling
  • Interests and browser preference and language tracking

As marketers, all of this data is actually right at our fingertips via tools and sources like Google Analytics, Google Insights, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Web Trends and Google Trends.

How do we use this data in the real world? Let’s take a look at the headphone industry for an example of how a good marketer can capitalize on behaviour and insights using data.

The graph below, gathered from Google Trends, shows the North American market interest associated with both headphones, and gifts
Blue: Gifts Red: Headphones


What the data shows is that the largest jump in market interest in gifts is during the winter holiday season. That’s not surprising, but what good marketers realize is that there were three additional gift giving periods that they had not been taking advantage of throughout the year.

Looking closely at gift search interest from February to July, you can see the three additional peaks: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

After seeing this data, an insightful and behavioural approach will be launching three different paid search and content campaigns targeting people searching for gifts around these dates with these specific interests in mind, which in-turn will help change the trend in the coming years and yield more growth. Gathering, analyzing and acting on the available data enables marketers to add three additional high yield campaigns to the annual marketing calendar.

For some companies, they have not yet put in place the tools to use this data effectively. Some collect monthly data and act accordingly. Others look at annual data trends and modify next year’s strategies based on what they see.

This is not a winning game plan.

For that reason, we’ve been seeing a huge turnover in Fortune 500s and Fortune 1000s. The list has changed considerably in the last five years. What’s happening to those businesses that drop off?

It’s time to innovate. It’s time to become masters of the data we have. It’s time for businesses to evolve and react as quickly as consumers in order to provide a better experience and build better businesses.

Let’s use the tools that are ruling the market.

Let’s use the incredible technology we have at our fingertips, and use it to its fullest capacity. Let’s reach the hearts and minds of consumers like we’ve never reached them before. Let’s be active in the evolution of our markets and audiences. Let’s become the masters of behavioural marketing.


Source: HP

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