As with buying stocks, timing is everything when it comes to leveraging data to reach your target audience.
Today, brands have the opportunity to capitalize on the abundance of inventory and data available to plan their marketing initiatives. When combined with media, these ingredients create the perfect recipe to apply targeted advertising to seasonal events.
From the Super Bowl to holiday shopping and political events, there are a multitude of seasonal opportunities for marketers to strategize against. Below, I have highlighted the most effective times during the year for marketers to add data to their media plans.
1. Seasonal Shopping Periods
Consumers spent more than $35.3 billion online in 2011 between November 1st and December 26th alone. Marketers planning a holiday retail strategy must look closely at consumer behavior from the previous year. This will help to determine the most optimal time to reach their intended audience and which strategies to implement.
While big picture marketing strategies differ by brand, all retail brands share a common goal in this seasonal period: to drive conversions and sell products.
Retargeting is the best method to drive sales because it leverages display advertising for performance marketing in two effective ways:
- Site retargeting enables brands to reach consumers who have indicated interest through website behavior.
- Search retargeting helps brands to scale their display targeting strategies by focusing on consumers who have searched for specific keywords. These keywords might be specific brand terms, lifestyle terms or even competitive terms that signal a consumer is in-market for a product.
Retail brands should also consider additional online marketing opportunities such as Valentine’s Day, back-to-school, President’s Day sales and more.
2. Entertainment/Lifestyle Activities
The 2012 Summer Olympics was a great example of a global event where a variety of brands had the opportunity to apply data to their media buys. In the case of the Olympics, and other major, live events such as the World Series, Super Bowl, Grammys and Oscars, brands can utilize data to amplify their branding campaigns and forge deeper connections with their audiences.
According to David Elms, head of media at KPMG, “The demand from the public for online coverage and other digital offerings during the Games (Olympics) was overwhelming. It has given a huge boost to advertisers in this area and shows that the various growth predictions we have seen over the last few months are probably not far off the mark.”
Data-driven marketing can also be extended across seasonal campaigns during sports seasons. An example of this was seen in last year’s Jack in the Box promotion, which incorporated a Twitter hashtag #marrybacon and a display campaign encouraging consumers to visit a dedicated microsite, www.Marrybacon.com.
Mobile and tablet components were also part of the quick service restaurant’s digital strategy. John Gross, strategist and account director at StruckAxiom, said Jack in The Box’s digital campaign “focuses on extending the TV ad’s story line,” to drive users to other platforms. Of course, all of this digital activity produced additional data points for Jack in the Box to optimize against and leverage for future multi-channel campaigns.
3. Other Notable Seasonal Events: Tax Season & Political Events
We all know that April is an important month for Americans preparing tax returns and budgeting for the forthcoming fiscal year. Brands such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block should incorporate targeting strategies, such as retargeting, demographic targeting and even behavioral targeting into their marketing campaigns. This will allow them to build consumer awareness and locate those customers in need of tax assistance.
For instance, a brand might choose to target consumers who have searched for specific terms like “online tax prep.” To further leverage the data points available to marketers, they should personalize these messages according to additional data relevant to income and geographic location.
These techniques are equally powerful in the political sphere. Applying data to online campaigns is a great way for politicians to tap into areas of the country that need additional exposure. For instance, candidates can apply additional ad dollars to target a specific demographic in particular swing states.
Candidates can also choose to target voters based on their interest in a particular campaign issue. For instance, fiscal voters could be targeted with banner ads advertising a candidate’s tax plans, while social-based voters would receive similarly appropriate ads. By applying a variety of data-driven advertising to these particular events, brands can cost-effectively drive response and increase brand visibility amongst specific, yet highly relevant, audiences.
The bottom line is that to remain competitive, brands must plan their campaigns with seasonal opportunities in mind to drive conversions and increase brand awareness.
Search retargeting and site retargeting are two powerful strategies that can be augmented by other data-driven opportunities within digital advertising, and even other areas of display media such as mobile, social and video.
To capitalize on the endless opportunities available, marketers must utilize strategies that balance precision with scale. With the largest shopping season around the corner, as well as other huge events like Halloween, Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl, the most successful brands will be those that tap into big data and media in the digital space.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.