You Need To Reach People, Not Personas. This Requires Better Data.2 min read

Traditional approaches relying on demographics or personas to find in-market shoppers fall short – they waste investment on audiences who aren’t really potential buyers, and they miss audiences who are.

“Spray and pray” gets expensive – especially in broad categories.

Laptop shoppers for example defy categorization and predictability – and they don’t buy that frequently. Mass-market campaigns are profoundly inefficient, but demographic targeting doesn’t get you close enough either.

A customer’s research happens at manufacturer, retailer, and editorial sites. This means there is an opportunity for marketers and advertisers to find in-market shoppers outside the walls of their own web properties. Marketers need to find and reach shoppers while they are researching. Waiting for them to land on your site means you may miss the opportunity to influence them.

There is missed opportunity in persona-driven approaches.

A middle-aged male may not necessarily be the most obvious customer for purchasing a rice cooker, and a brand that bases its targeting on personas would likely miss him. But once he starts researching, he is signaling a lot of intent on numerous web properties.

Actual shoppers give all sorts of signals that they are in market for particular products – signals that are invisible to many companies and brands who want to find and reach them. Since so much research happens away from the final point of purchase, marketers struggle to find in-market shoppers early in their process. Even with piles of data in their own warehouses, they struggle to break out of their silos and find consumers earlier in the journey.

This is a problem when you consider how many touchpoints shoppers have during the research process. They are doing their research in-store and online, bouncing around among different brands and retailers – and devices.

So target people, not personas. At best, your siloed data offers a partial view of some consumers. To find the consumers you need, invest in advertising solutions that synthesize shopper signals and know who is in-market now.

I’m here to help! Drop me a line and let’s see what you could do better to find, reach, and win perspective shoppers.


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