Evaluating the millions of audiences

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At a conference recently, one marketer suggested that online targeting has moved from “an audience of millions, to millions of audiences.” How do you determine which audiences are most valuable?

Liz O'Neil,
VP, director of channel marketing, 

Patient value and targeting are not new challenges to advertisers. With mass media it's very important to do the heavy lifting up front so you qualify and quantify the brand's targets to make the message relevant to the most important targets. What online allows marketers to do is segment more finely and target messages that are most relevant to not only the target, but also the context in which he/she is seeing the message. We can also proactively build in a learning plan so we may use the activity (or lack of) to create an improved understanding of our target. And we have reality-based analytical tools that allow us to optimize both the target and the messaging in the market rather than having to use market research. It's not what audience is most valuable, but rather what about the brand is valuable to the target. 

Jennifer Willey,
Director of business development, 

This audience explosion is testing agencies' abilities to forge relationships with every destination that may be the home for a brand's target.  While every audience should be evaluated, agencies pushed to the limit are managing their overwhelming choices, limited time and resources by identifying strategic partners. As these lists are narrowed, will digital marketing revert to the TV model—with media plans dictated by the Big Five networks and a “Flavor of the Month” site (insert ‘buzz' word here—social, video, alternate life)? One solution: test/measure/optimize/scale new ideas that work and add them to your toolbox of ongoing tactics. Marketers must connect with millions of audiences and leverage the power of this medium for it to grow.

Wendy Blackburn,
VP, client services,
Intouch Solutions

Marketers can no longer use a broadcast approach to marketing; one cannot just craft a message and shout it over the loudspeaker. Today, effective marketing requires customized conversations tailored to who customers are, what they need and where they are in the treatment continuum. The targeting power of the digital channel makes this more possible than ever before. The “most valuable audience” is different for every brand, marketing goal, relationship stage and product life cycle. Put simply, it's the one that helps you achieve your goals with the least amount of effort. It takes solid market research, an understanding of the market and an ongoing commitment to analytics. Armed with these insights, only then can you identify, know where to find and know how to best communicate with key audiences.

Brian Kaiser,
Targetbase XACT Direct-to-Patient

Engagement tells us which online audiences are most valuable. We have proven that engagement patterns translate into sales and provide an excellent bellwether for the health of the business and relationships a brand has. Marketers have recognized the value of engagement for some time, but have struggled with their ability to measure and act on it. Our finding is that timeliness has been the critical missing ingredient. Effective targeting among millions of audiences requires an ability to analyze patterns of engagement activity. When brands assess the volume of engagement along with changes in the direction of engagement, recognizing these shifts can spark relevant strategies at the moment of truth.

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