Trends and Tools:
to Effectively Reach Your Target Audience
By Peter Koeppel
spend billions of dollars on advertising every year, but waste
hundreds of millions by failing to effectively target their marketing
messages to specific audiences. Reaching those consumers who
want and need your products and services requires strategic planning,
research, and focus.
to decide who your target audience is, where they’re located, and
how you’re going to reach them. Until recently, this information was
difficult to find and apply. Thanks to rapid innovations, media
professionals can use sophisticated research tools to help you
determine who your target audience should be and how to reach them
Trends to Watch:
advances have changed consumers’ media viewing habits. Therefore,
buying ad spots on broadcast TV and expecting a great response is no
longer a feasible strategy for reaching your target audience.
media buyers know this and stay ahead of the competition by following
current trends. If you want to get the most out of your advertising
dollars, you need to be aware of the following media trends.
– Spending your advertising dollars to reach your audience most
efficiently in a fragmented media culture is more important than ever.
Consumers can be harder to reach these days because of the enormous
number of entertainment options available to them. In the 1950s, and
for decades after, only three television networks existed. Now,
hundreds of television channels compete for consumers’ attention
along with the Internet, iPods, music downloads, and video games.
– To determine target markets, the media buying industry is trending
toward research that combines demographically targeted models with
psychographic models. Psychographic research groups consumers through
psychological information such as opinions, attitudes, beliefs,
tastes, and personality traits. For example, in the past, market
researchers lumped together all
married women aged thirty-five to fifty-four with a household income
of $50,000 plus. But as a more global society has evolved, factors
like race, age, and region have become less important in determining
consumer habits. Like-minded individuals might extend into many
different groups, based on factors such as the types of music they
listen to and the types of cars they buy.
Advertising – Media buyers can help you target your audience
more efficiently through the expertise that comes from years of
experience testing various products. They could tell you, for example,
that an ad for a pet-care product running on a network such as Animal
Planet during particular time periods on certain days is certain to
perform well because they have an extensive database of information to
Satellite TV and
TiVo – Satellite TV, DIRECTV, and DISH Network have cut into the
market share of cable TV. These viewers tend to be a little more
affluent, so smart media dollars are shifting away from cable and into
satellite TV. Media dollars are also shifting from broadcast TV
networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—into cable TV, because broadcast TV has
become prohibitively expensive for some advertisers.
trend that’s emerging is TiVo, which records the viewing habits of
its subscribers. TiVo could sell that information to advertisers, who
wouldn’t know who the viewers were, just their viewing habits, and
who might learn that a large portion of TiVo owners frequently watch
ESPN, for example. Knowing the demographics of ESPN viewers,
advertisers with a male-targeted product can efficiently reach this
particular group who are watching male-oriented sports networks.
Tools to Use: Fortunately
for advertisers, technological advances also offer several new ways of
targeting their audience and tracking the effectiveness of their ad
purchases. This allows media buyers to stay on top of trends and
maximize their advertising dollars.
of the most valuable research tools and targeting methods currently
available for reaching consumers through TV, the Internet, and other
– Their research helps to determine the cost efficiency of
reaching a particular target audience. It enables advertisers to
estimate the cost per thousand people reached by a network in
order to determine cost-efficiency for a particular demographic
group. For example, if an advertiser wanted to reach women ages
thirty-five to fifty-four, Nielsen could tell which networks are
most cost-efficient at reaching that target. Nielsen also has
research profile information on thousands of online targets that
help advertisers strengthen their creative message, strategy, and
web development efforts.
Media Reports – With this service, available by
subscription, advertisers can check out the competition and learn
from their media buying habits. An insurance company that wanted
to market its product to GEICO’s audience, for example, could
pull GEICO’s TV advertising schedule and see on which television
networks and time periods GEICO runs ads. If GEICO is spending a
lot of money to run ads frequently on certain networks and at
certain times, then a similar strategy is probably profitable for
them. The competing company could then buy advertising at similar
times on the same networks to market their
Research – Usually referred to as MRI, this multimedia
audience research company surveys 26,000 consumers every six
months to find out what products they purchase and
which television networks they watch most frequently. Survey
results that showed that those consumers who bought a particular
brand of room deodorizer also frequently watched The
Do-It-Yourself Channel, would indicate that an advertiser who
wished to market a similar product should then use that network
for their advertising schedule.
Adcopy – Comcast Cable now has these
segmentation products, which allow an advertiser to create
multiple versions of a commercial, tailoring each to specific
geographic, demographic, and psychographic market segments, and
run them simultaneously. With Adcopy, an advertiser can
simultaneously send different commercials to different market
segments. For example, in a single market, an Adcopy commercial
for Ford might highlight an F-150 truck in a rural locale, an
Explorer SUV in a suburban neighborhood, and a Taurus sedan in an
follows the same principle, but broadcasts a single commercial in all
market segments with a customized “tag” at the end, featuring
information specific to various geographic locations within a market,
such as the address of the nearest Ford dealership, in the last
five seconds of the commercial.
you need to support a single brand with multiple messages—even in
multiple languages—these services could be invaluable.
– Media buyers have computer software that enables them to track
results and analyze in real time an advertising campaign’s
efficiency at reaching a target audience. The software links the
buyer’s computer to call centers in order to measure the results
of a direct response campaign almost instantaneously. They can
then adjust the campaign, if necessary, for greater efficiency.
Reaching Your Target in the Future: To
remain competitive, advertisers must keep on top of the latest trends
in media and the most effective tools to help them reach their target
audiences. An experienced media professional can help businesses find
the best means to convey their message and utilize the latest trends
and tools to reach specifically targeted audiences. When you apply
these trends and tools to your advertising strategy, you will reach
your market without wasting millions in the process.
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