People-based marketing – what is that? And isn’t that what all marketing should be? Isn’t the entire marketing industry already concentrated on people – their needs, wants and individual behavior characteristics? Well, you’d be surprised! Stick with us to find out!
According to BounceX, people-based marketing is defined like this:
“People-Based Marketing enables brands to create a cohesive marketing system, centered around the individual consumer and anchored by the collection of real-time behavioral data combined with first-party brand data. With People-Based Marketing, brands can ingest and respond strategically to consumers in real-time across devices and channels, unifying the customer journey, unlocking a new source of revenue and achieving a truly omnichannel business.”
In simple words, once a potential customer has created their unique identity online with singular behavior patterns and clear interests across all their devices, the marketer has the means to prepare with the right product or service whenever the customer finally comes looking for it.
But how to do that? Do cookies provide that information? Well, not really.
Those annoying little cookies that you agree to follow you online and see what you like, what you are interested in, and what you ultimately come to buy, do provide information about you to marketers who are then ready to offer you something they think you might also like. But that in itself does not constitute the basis for people-based marketing because it lacks the link between a person on their laptop, a person on their mobile device, and same person on someone else’s laptop. In other words, cookies cannot know that Jamie from Toronto was searching for baby clothes on her mobile and baby formulas on her laptop, but that it was her husband Tom who was looking at traveling options to Zimbabwe on Jamie’s laptop. Therefore, the cookie-based ads she will be getting are those for baby clothes and traveling to Zimbabwe, but not for baby formulas.
You see how flawed this approach is, right? That right there is where the need for people-based marketing comes from.
According to the Consumer Technology Association, 50% of people in the US use a second screen while watching TV, that is, they use another device such as mobile or tablet to expand on whatever it is they are watching on TV. Here are the numbers:
- 50% of people access information about the content they’re viewing
- 48% of people watch content on other devices during commercials
- 43% of people follow Social Media discussions either related or unrelated to the programming.
Furthermore, millennials are more likely to engage in this kind of behavior than people above 35 years of age:
- 71% engage with social media while watching video content (as opposed to only 31% when it comes to 35-year-olds and above)
- 70% watch content on another device during commercials (as opposed to 38% of 35-year-old adults and older).
What we are seeing here is the shift in the second screen behavior by consumers (which is not necessarily limited to their television-related needs), especially millennials who are slowly becoming the core of target audience for the increasing number of brands. That means that what is also changing are consumers’ shopping habits and with them so must the marketing industry as well.
With people-based marketing, you put the individual at the center of all your marketing activity. When you have relevant insight into consumer behavior across different channels and devices, you also get to understand how they are interacting with your brand, products and services and which of their particular interactions are generating activity you want from them. For example, if Tom the new dad (who we mentioned wants to travel to Zimbabwe), looks for traveling options first on his laptop, then on his wife’s and then actually buys a plane ticket from his phone, he is using multiple screens or multiple devices to interact with a certain brand (such as a travel agency, or an airline). In order for a brand to target him and not his wife with relevant ads, it needs to connect the dots, understand the behavior and find the person behind it. That is omnichannel marketing explained in practical terms – the basis for people-based marketing.
When relying on cookies to gather information for your marketing efforts, you are still in the domain of multi-channel marketing which effectively means you are targeting Tom with the same ads on all his (and his wife’s) devices on which he has shown interest in your product or service. That is NOT the seamless advertising experience, and the average consumer DOES NOT put up with that kind of intrusive and badgering behavior from brands. When you can see the consumers’ journey on your website that leads to conversions, they are no longer just conversions in your eyes, but people with identifiable intentions, actions and goals (which hopefully match yours).
So how to create such a journey? By real-time tracking parameters such as:
- Which device consumers are using to browse your website
- Whether they made it to a product page or category page
- Which categories or individual products or services were visited
- Whether or not they read product reviews
- If they have added items to cart.
Connecting these dots will provide a marketer with actionable data whether Jamie has lost interest in baby clothes she was looking for earlier and you need to send her a cart abandonment email or if she actually finished her shopping spree on another device, so you can offer her something else and not bother her with advertising the product she has already bought. The difference between the two will make or break her loyalty to your brand, so there is actually a lot at stake here.
And therein lies the promise of people-based marketing if it is realized through these 5 keys:
- Identity resolution – the ability to recognize the people you want to engage
- Combining data to build out profiles and deepen consumer insights
- Activating data across channels and devices
- Measuring and optimizing performance
- Ensuring privacy and ethical data use.
Remember, it’s not about the brand, it’s about the consumer! Treat your customers with respect and with a comprehensive understanding of what their actual needs are, and they will come back to you again and again.