Power to the People! Breaking through the digital noise with people based marketing

Angela Sanfilippo | August 29, 2017

Quick quiz: How many devices do you own? How about your household? We’d be willing to bet you own more than one, probably more than two—and regularly use them all. Device use is at an all-time high, with people often juggling multiple screens at a time. Have you ever checked social media on your phone while also streaming a TV show and surfing the web on your tablet or laptop at the same time? Yep, we thought so.

While you might think people interacting on so many devices, displays, and channels gives marketers more opportunity to connect with their audiences, the opposite is actually true. Users today are suffering from digital overload. They are so inundated with digital messages all day long that they rarely take notice of any of them. For years marketers have been focusing on getting more messages onto more screens—but that tactic is no longer working. To succeed in today’s digital landscape, you need a new strategy. The focus now needs to be on quality, not quantity. To break through the digital noise and make your message heard, it’s time to put people first.

The People Approach: Knowing Who & Where They Are

Most companies today have access to lots of information about customers and potential customers (through data analytics, tag management, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and third-party data). You can (and should) use this information to get to know your customers better. Leveraging cookies or logins helps you identify users wherever they are so you can enable 1:1 personalization to get people’s attention. This information allows you to identify customers wherever they are.

“[customers] don’t care that your company is organized by channels, they expect you to tell a consistent story to them across your touchpoints.” - Forrester

You can also crunch key attributes—things like age, gender, income, interests, and previous purchasing behavior—to build buying personas to better understand future customers. When you focus on understanding who your audience is on an individual level, you have a better chance of connecting.

This is the people-based marketing approach.

“People-based marketing makes sense at this critical moment in advertising. Consumer attention is more fragmented than ever before and existing ad tech simply can’t keep up. In our digital-first era, marketers face a clear choice: customize content and delivery to the habits of modern consumers or risk being left behind.”

- Atlas

Make it Meaningful: Know What They Want & How to Give It to Them

Once you understand who they are, the next step is to understand what they’re trying to accomplish—what we call intent. How do you know what people really want at any given moment? It’s easier than you think. With so much data available, you just need the right tools—tools that use Big Data analysis to crunch first-, second-, and third party-data and identify patterns of behavior that indicate consumer intent. Once you’ve identified those patterns, you can predict a consumer’s intent in the moment based on their behavior, and automate the best responses to guide them down the path to purchasing. That’s how you make it meaningful.


Why Now?

According to Gartner, most marketers now expect customer experience to be the key differentiator. That means it’s time to focus more on engaging individuals, and less on targeting audiences on specific channels. It means you need to identify the same users across channels and devices, and guide them down the path to purchasing by delivering high quality content—not high-volume communications. And it means you need to make interactions more meaningful by understanding not just who individual consumers are, but what they’re trying to do.

“Customers don’t just expect consistency across channels; they want it immediately in the context of their moment of need and on the device of their choice. Failing to deliver against these expectations means missing the opportunity to win, serve, and retain your customers.”

- Forrester


If you’re ready to shift your focus and put people first, check out The CMO’s Guide to Digital Transformation for tips on how to get started. Get to know your customers better so you can make your message heard and make meaningful connections.


1 Gartner Research, 2015:Why You Need to Rethink Your Customer Self-Service Strategy

LUMA Institute: People Based Marketing

Forrester Research: People Focused Marketing

Atlas by Facebook: People Based Marketing