Putting the People Back in Marketing

People have become more picky with what they share online.

Not too long ago I read an article that studied the readers of BuzzFeed and identified what made a piece of content "share-worthy". The study revealed that the readers of BuzzFeed "consider sharing a piece of content as though they’re sharing a piece of themselves." As explained by Edwin Wong, BuzzFeed’s VP and Head of Insights and Analytics, "Because the content they choose to share is meaningful, people have become more picky with what they share."

Content pickiness isn't limited to just the BuzzFeed audience. With more content being shared than ever before, consumers disregard the majority of messages they are receiving. Instead, they are only focusing on the messages that speak to their passions and interests. The reality is, marketers, content creators, and publishers across every industry are still struggling to create content that resonates with their consumers.

So why are marketers getting it so wrong? Shouldn't they know who their customers are and what they want?

The problem is simple: Marketing is broken.

Bold statement, I know. But let's examine this problem in a bit more detail. To begin, think of the conventional marketing process.

Marketing today is a still very siloed practice. Typically, before a marketing campaign begins, an insights and strategy team is engaged. Unfortunately, these teams are drawing insights from multiple and disparate data sets. Whether it's focus groups, various marketing dashboards, Nielsen data, surveys, or others, the sources marketers use seem to go on and on. A lot of the time this data is disconnected from the actual audience marketers are trying to reach and isn't statistically relevant.

Do you see a problem starting to arise?

Proceeding from these disparate sources, a persona is created and shared with a creative team. A creative team is then stuck with a mix-matched persona, reliant on disjointed data, and must figure out how to creatively reach them. They are left guessing what format, and what content would best suit this audience. As a final step in the conventional marketing process, insights and creative are then shared with a media team. Typically, media and creative teams don't synchronize and instead work separately. Now the media team needs to take content and try to place it where it will be most efficient and reach the desired audience.

What does this process tell us?

How teams work together is incredibly siloed. Insight and Strategy, Creative, and Media leverage their own data sources, their own research, and let's be honest... their gut instincts. How can we expect to reach consumers with meaningful and shareable content when the data behind strategy, creative, and media is so diluted?

The solution to the problem is marketers, across the entire process, must rely on a single source of truth. Without a single source of truth (data), the result is a major disconnect between what content consumers want and what marketers think they want. By relying on a single source of truth, marketers, publishers, and advertisers will be able to reach audiences in a more effective way than ever before.

Marketers need a single source of truth

To do this, teams must employ new technologies and techniques and rely on quantifiable audience data that puts the people back in marketing. At Affinio, the marketing intelligence platform, we champion an audience-first approach. One way teams can determine who their consumers are and what they want is by leveraging interest-based segmentation technology. Interest-based segmentation provides teams with robust, global insights that can be used at every touch point of a strategy, from initial ideation and conception through to execution and measurement.

It’s time for teams to break down silos, work together, and leverage the same audience data. Instead of diluting the data and message a consumer receives, teams can ensure every message is highly shareable and speaks to the passions and interests of who matters most… their consumer. After all, they are sharing a piece of themselves.

Learn how to put the people back in your marketing