Retarget Your Back-To-School Campaigns Before the Bell Rings

Retarget Your Back-To-School Campaigns Before the Bell Rings

(Originally posted in Business2Community)

Backpacks in banner ads. School supplies in search ads. Fall clothes in Facebook News Feeds.

Chances are, you’ve seen a few of these in the past couple of weeks. With back-to-school campaigns in full swing, your marketing team has already spent lots of time figuring out how to best target your customers with relevant ads, but your efforts shouldn’t stop there.

As campaigns roll out, it’s important to understand how to follow brand conversations, use analytics, and tweak campaigns appropriately to ensure your messaging continues to hit the mark.

The Power of Retargeting

Social media is the best way to retarget your back-to-school campaigns

Social Media works best for retargeting. Image courtesy of VerticalResponse.

For most websites, only 2 percent of traffic converts on the first visit. That’s where retargeting comes in. By monitoring your marketing campaign in real time, you can adjust it as necessary for maximum impact and target interested consumers where they’re already engaging.

Social media is the best route to take for retargeting success. Social lets you follow brand conversations in real time, which helps reveal any campaign adjustments you need to make.

For instance, you might change the segment you target (boys instead of girls, teens instead of parents) or which platforms you utilize (Facebook instead of Pinterest) based on insights you pull during the campaign.

Here’s how to use social to be more strategic in your retargeting efforts:

Take advantage of tools. Use the right tools to help you discover your brand’s influencers and fans, track popular content, and segment your audience. Whether you use social conversation tracking tools or choose to monitor it manually, make it a priority to dig deeper into the discovery of your brand influencers. These are the people who have the most influence over what people say and think about your brand. Then, work to foster ongoing relationships with these people.

Meet your audience where they are.  Brand conversations can tell you what’s resonating within specific demographics. Are teens latching on to your campaign, or do parents seem more interested? Adjust your campaign to target each group differently. Then, look at their interests (favorite websites, blogs, celebrities, etc.), and find ways to take your campaign there. For example, Teen Vogue recently declared the second Saturday in August as Back-to-School Saturday (#BTSS) to cater to its teen/tween audience. About 50 brands participated in offering promotions and product launches, promoted primarily through social media, a mobile insider app, and a dedicated website. Those brands were smart to latch on to Teen Vogue’s influence with teens, tweens, and 20-somethings.

Stay platform-agile. In the old days, marketers received insights about their audience months after putting in a request (by which time many insights were no longer relevant). Now, you should be taking advantage of the opportunity you have to follow conversations around your brand in real time. Analyze social chatter moment to moment, and switch platforms based on your insights. Keep in mind that enthusiasm for Facebook is declining among teens, but if you’re going after Mom and Dad, it might be the best place to be. Of course, these trends change quickly, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest social crazes.

Be mobile-minded. Mobile has redefined today’s retargeting. Not only does it allow you to reach your target anytime, anywhere, but it also lets you retarget banner, app, and browser ads based on consumers’ past activity. When they search for your products but don’t purchase, you can make sure the product they were considering follows them to future browsing sessions. Twitter is especially hot for retargeting right now because brands can share desktop cookies with Twitter to target users with Promoted Tweets.

Measure, tweak, repeat. If one of your retargeting choices isn’t performing as expected, make a quick change and measure again. For example, if parents aren’t responding to your back-to-school campaign, maybe it’s time to go straight to the source and target teens. If most of your audience is engaging from Pinterest, get aggressive with your pinning.

By continuing this cycle of research, planning, strategic implementation, execution, and more monitoring/research, you’ll cultivate a living, breathing campaign that remains relevant and laser-focused on your target audience — whether they’re teens trying to impress their friends or backpack-seeking moms and dads trying to tackle back-to-school fashion.

4 Ways to Invest in Personas to Tailor Your Marketing Messages

4 Ways to Invest in Personas to Tailor Your Marketing Messages

(Originally posted in Memeburn)

Do you know who your customers are? You probably know their age, gender, and location — you might even know their shopping habits or their favorite stores. But do you really know them?

Ten years ago, basic demographic information might have been enough, but in the age of big data, businesses need to dig deeper.

These days, brands aren’t just compiling numbers and statistics to get to know their customers. Innovative companies are investing in “personas”: full, honest descriptions of a specific type of person. When you identify your audience in this way, it’s much easier to tailor your messaging to resonate with these specific people.

Uncover Personas Behind Your Brand

Dissecting customer personas

What makes a persona? A persona is the difference between an awkward date that ends in a mumbled “bye” and an evening where you talk all night and leave feeling as though you’ve known that person your entire life. A persona tells you about your customers’ personality, interests, likes and dislikes, and media consumption.

Based on an analysis of the energy drink’s Twitter engagement, Red Bull has two main male personas as its followers: “daring” men ages 18 to 24 and “sophisticated” men ages 25 to 34. We can also tell that Red Bull’s daring fans favor news media from Bleacher Report and Deadspin, while their sophisticated followers prefer BuzzFeed and Complex.

Red Bull knows these daring types respond to new and exciting things, and they’re turned off by mass appeal and corporate speak. Sophisticated types, on the other hand, respond to celebrity, wit, and confidence.

From reviewing the kinds of media they consume, we have a better idea of exactly what would pique their interest and what wouldn’t. So does Red Bull. Can you think of better words to describe the brand responsible for a world-famous “space jump” than “exciting” and “confident”?

Discover the people behind your brand

Now, thanks to big data, the most successful brand strategists and product designers don’t just know who their customers are. They also know what makes them tick, and they can empathize with exactly what they want — and don’t want.

You can accomplish this for your brand, too. Here are a few ways to start:

1. Find out who’s engaging with you and who isn’t. You have two kinds of fans: engagers and under-engagers. Under-engagers are people who’ve shown an interest — by retweeting, sharing, or using hashtags relevant to your brand — but they’re not brand advocates yet. Make it your mission to find out two things about these fans: Who are they, and what do they follow?

2. Uncover their interests: Once you’ve figured out the basics about your brand fans (gender, age, and location), invest in social media analysis to dig into their interests. This is where building your brand persona begins. What do these people like? Why are they invested in your brand? Answer all these questions and more until you build a well-rounded outline (or several) of your average fans.

3. Create stories: Use your newfound knowledge to choose stories that will resonate with your personas. Keep an eye out for surprises in your under-engagers’ demographics. These unexpected insights will win you credit with your customers and drive results.

4. Target the right media: Make media buys that are mutually exclusive to your target personas as much as possible so you can feed them different stories with less risk. For Mustang brand fans, for example, the media would be Motor Trend or Car and Driver. But for the brand’s under-engagers, Mustang might target Mashable or The Onion.

So who are your customers, and how are you going to use personas to speak to them in a more memorable way?