Targeted advertising uses granular details such as age, gender, or past purchases to find the right audience for the right product. However, that idea leaves much to be desired. Because even if you target an ad properly, it’s meaningless if that ad isn’t personalized.
The Internet is a noisy place these days. I liken it to walking down the street in a busy market, with hawkers yelling at you from every corner. Sure, maybe a few of the more vocal sellers might catch your attention the first few times.
But eventually, you become acclimated to the noise. You start to ignore it. You tune out the yelling and learn to look for the specific booths that catch your interest.
That’s what’s happened on the modern web. The use of ad blockers has now reached an all-time high, as customers grow frustrated with low-quality, low effort advertisements. Entire online communities have been founded to poke fun at terrible ads, and countless websites have had to readjust their revenue model to account for the fact that nobody wants to see ads anymore.
They’ve become irrelevant. Obnoxious. Obtrusive. And in the worst-case scenario, outright dangerous. Yet many businesses and brands simply putter forward, willfully ignorant that there’s even a problem.
That needs to change.
I don’t doubt that excepting the most extreme cases, advertisements are well-targeted. We live in the era of Facebook, after all. Finding information about a user’s demographic background usually requires only a few clicks.
The problem is, targeting an ad and actually making it relevant to someone are two different things. A 30-year-old man who is married with two children will probably have very different interests from a 30-year-old man who’s single and living in a studio apartment.
Yet on paper, both are men, and in the same age and income bracket. See what I’m getting at here?
People are growing more conscious of their online privacy. They’re less willing to share details about themselves with businesses and brands. The challenge lies in getting the necessary data to personalize one’s marketing effort.
That’s why you shouldn’t ask them to share. Instead, you should simply interact with them. Reach out on social media. Create a Facebook page, craft entertaining content, and strike up a conversation or two. Pull in data from call centers, digital storefronts, and online communities.
Eventually, from all this information, you’ll be able to craft better, more focused audience profiles. And from those profiles, you’ll be able to better understand what your customers want, how they think, and how you can market with messages that actually gives them value to their lifestyle and beliefs, not their demographic make-up.
In other words, you’ll learn how you can be a salesperson, rather than someone screaming at prospective leads from a metaphorical street corner.