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December 25, 2012

Today is the day digital display becomes the centerpiece for all your marketing efforts, including offline ventures like TV, radio and print buying.

Ask yourself a question: How much money do you spend on audience research to better understand who your audience is, whether it’s focus groups or in-market research? Now ask yourself: What if that money could be spent for real-time research while also reaching your target with actual messaging?  In other words, what if your budget could be allocated to media and research was a free byproduct?  It can be that way right now with any number of tools that are available to marketers though digital display.

In full disclosure, I work in data -- but that can’t hold me up from proclaiming what I knew for years as a media buyer.  Digital display, when done properly, is effectively a real-time research tool that enables brand marketers to gain actual information about their audience while testing messaging and either proving or disproving a hypothesis about audience  -- rather than allocating hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to a low-return vehicle such as standard offline research tools.

Here’s how to do it. All marketers do an initial analysis of who their audience is; continue to do that.  Once you have an idea, or ideas, you establish test campaigns using display media with multiple audience-based buys and a control established as a baseline. Evaluate interaction and response rates for each of those tests, and implement a third-party audience verification or similar platform to provide you with more details about your audience than you might have originally hypothesized.

Once you have run that initial campaign, reintegrate your learning and run a secondary campaign based on a refined version of your target, plus any additional learning you gathered while in-market.  This should enable you to end up with a strong understanding of your core target audience based on real-time results from display. 

Once you have that information and can evaluate it against your original hypothesis, you should be in a position to put that customer profile into action.  If you want to make use of that information in digital, you need a cross-channel DMP to port the profile to your other execution layers. Use the information offline for your TV, print and radio buys to determine which media will represent the highest percentage of the audience you are looking to reach.  Eventually there’ll be a more direct opportunity to leverage those digital profiles in offline media, but right now the execution layer in offline is still a manual process – unlike digital, where the execution layer can indeed be automated.

By Cory Treffiletti
Cory, senior vice president of marketing, BlueKai, is a founder, author, marketer, and evangelist.
Courtesy of MediaPost

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