Utilizing Audience Insights for Customer Acquisition

Introduction

In March 2008, Sarah Lacy of Business Week conducted a disastrous interview with Mark Zuckerberg on the main stage of SXSW. The festival was abuzz with news of the event, and it wasn’t Zuckerberg’s insights that inspired the chatter. Minutes into the conversation with Zuckerberg, Lacy’s interview tactics had inspired heated backlash from the audience through the then-emerging platform Twitter, enabling the experience to be quickly spread to the masses. Fast forward to 2014. Social media has become ubiquitous and critical to modern marketing strategies. Perhaps at one time considered juvenile and diverting, social media platforms do not discriminate when it comes to bringing significant value and measurable ROI to companies across all industries. For modern marketing professionals, participating in online conversation is their bread and butter. However, marketing is evolving. Yesterday’s social media management platforms enable mass communications by arming marketing teams with baseline insights into their respective audiences. As more information becomes available and companies look to gain further insight into their audience, the trick is to figure out how to efficiently interpret meaning from the data deluge. However you parse it, data gives marketers tangible strategic advantages. According to the US Chamber of Commerce and IBM, 90% of all present day data was created in the past two years

Information Overload

People have grown accustomed to sharing unprecedented amounts of personal information across a multitude of mediums. According to a recent study by Mintel, 60% of millennials are comfortable sharing details about their habits and preferences with

marketing professionals. For many, online sharing and the widespread dissemination and use of personal data it entails, is just the cost of doing business. In fact, it is imperative to stay relevant in personal, professional, and social spheres. Over the years, marketing teams have established persona studies, qualitative and quantitative research, email lists, transactional histories, and metadata on customers and prospects. But the question remains – how does one compile all of that information to paint a portrait that is true to its subject? And, how does one do this in a timely manner, such that the insights gained can be put into action quickly and smartly before the data becomes stale?

A study from Mintel showed that 60% of millennials are comfortable disclosing their personal habits with marketers

Marketing Evolution

Stitching unstructured behavioral data to structured, customer data can produce profiles and personas full of quantitative data that can then be utilized as astute market research. The profiles are rich, and allow marketers to target to whom relevant content is sent, where and when the customer wants it. Unstructured data can be defined as scattered information that is unorganized and informal – i.e. tweets, posts, check-ins, comments and recommendations. Structured data is information that lives in fixed or predefined fields, i.e. email lists, customer loyalty lists, CRMs and marketing automation platforms. Even data found in databases can exhibit significant amounts of unstructured content. For example, a patient record that documents (in a structured manner) the treatment the patient received, their vitals, and specific medications that were administered also contains unstructured comments from the doctor regarding the patient’s consultation. To cite another example, location information on a Twitter profile is provided in a structured field that is easily identified as such, but it is freeform, allowing users to provide values like “Austin, Texas,” “ATX,” “H-Town,” and even “Justin Bieber’s Heart.” Over 500 million tweets are posted each day, according to Twitter Usage Statistics When used strategically, audience data has the potential to bring exceptional value to marketers, and marketing campaigns. Using information taken directly from structured and When used strategically, audience data has the potential to bring exceptional value to marketers, and marketing campaigns. Using information taken directly from structured and unstructured sources, marketing teams can learn valuable information about their audiences, such as: • Personal and brand affinities • Pain points • Demographics • Engagement with brands • Influence level • Device use • Comparison to audiences of competing or complementary brands Companies using traditional marketing techniques tend to have match rates between structured and unstructured data of 15-20%. In other words, for every 100 emails found in a database, there are 15 to 20 social media profiles that match up. This model leaves marketers in the dark about 80-85% of their audience. This equates to huge opportunity loss. The good news is that technology has evolved to allow brands to match the majority of their structured in-house marketing data to unstructured, social, and mobile data. For these brands, an increase in effective, strategic and coordinated engagement with current and prospective customers results in an exponential increase in revenue. The bottom line: data matching directly impacts ROI.unstructured sources, marketing teams can learn valuable information about their audiences, such as: • Personal and brand affinities • Pain points • Demographics • Engagement with brands • Influence level • Device use • Comparison to audiences of competing or complementary brands Companies using traditional marketing techniques tend to have match rates between structured and unstructured data of 15-20%. In other words, for every 100 emails found in a database, there are 15 to 20 social media profiles that match up. This model leaves marketers in the dark about 80-85% of their audience. This equates to huge opportunity loss. The good news is that technology has evolved to allow brands to match the majority of their structured in-house marketing data to unstructured, social, and mobile data. For these brands, an increase in effective, strategic and coordinated engagement with current and prospective customers results in an exponential increase in revenue. The bottom line: data matching directly impacts ROI.

Context is Key

Context is critical to understanding your audience. Data science has made it possible to turn characteristics and nuances into quantifiable items that marketers can act upon. From the information derived using data analysis techniques, marketers are able to gain insights into who makes up their audience without missing some of the finer points of individual expression. Key to these innovations are advanced methods like predictive analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing. Predictive analytics is a broad term for statistical inference techniques that can be used to analyze current and historical data to understand trends and make predictions about the future. Predictive analytics can be used to model everything from the way people will behave, to the outcome of a basketball game, to the future value of an investment portfolio. Machine learning encompasses a range of methods that allow patterns to be learned from data creation models that associate given inputs with clusters and classes. For example, clustering methods can take a collection of texts or social profiles and group them with respect to which are most similar to one another. Classification in machine learning involves obtaining labels from humans for a set of examples, learning a model that associates new inputs to those labels, and then applying that model to new data. Natural language processing is a field at the intersection of computer science and linguistics that makes sense of unstructured linguistic data, both text and speech (and even sign language). It is closely connected to information retrieval, and it relies heavily on machine learning methods. Researchers and developers operating within the field of natural language processing work on ways to automate algorithms that perform intriguing computations on the things people say, including well-known applications such as machine translation, spam filtering, and sentiment analysis. People Pattern worked with an international CPG to create !and add custom interest classifiers to internal email lists to power targeted marketing campaigns across multiple continents

Context is Key

The takeaway? Use data analytics to add context to your people-based datasets by creating bespoke interest classifiers in order to analyze and segment your audience based on characteristics and psychographics, rather than relying solely on demographics. When combined with demographics, marketers are able to understand personas as combinations of demographics and interests rather than prejudging personas or investing a great deal of effort in traditional research.Predictive analytics is a broad term for statistical inference techniques that can be used to analyze current and historical data to understand trends and make predictions about the future. Predictive analytics can be used to model everything from the way people will behave, to the outcome of a basketball game, to the future value of an investment portfolio. Machine learning encompasses a range of methods that allow patterns to be learned from data creation models that associate given inputs with clusters and classes. For example, clustering methods can take a collection of texts or social profiles and group them with respect to which are most similar to one another. Classification in machine learning involves obtaining labels from humans for a set of examples, learning a model that associates new inputs to those labels, and then applying that model to new data. Natural language processing is a field at the intersection of computer science and linguistics that makes sense of unstructured linguistic data, both text and speech (and even sign language). It is closely connected to information retrieval, and it relies heavily on machine learning methods. Researchers and developers operating within the field of natural language processing work on ways to automate algorithms that perform intriguing computations on the things people say, including well-known applications such as machine translation, spam filtering, and sentiment analysis. People Pattern worked with an international CPG to create !and add custom interest classifiers to internal email lists to power targeted marketing campaigns across multiple continents

Influencers and Advocates: Cheerleaders for Your Business

Whether your business operates out of your garage or is one of the world’s largest brands, you understand the need to spread the word about your company’s products and services. You probably have marketing and advertising initiatives in place to do

exactly that. Most businesses also understand the importance of word of mouth marketing. According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers indicate they trust product and service recommendations from family, colleagues and friends1. Customer recommendations are powerful, but how do you get positive word of mouth messages? Social media presence is key. Most companies have accounts on Facebook and Twitter; some also use Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others to collect and connect with fans. The people who follow you chose to do so; therefore, they’re already supportive of your brand. But fans are a lot like acquaintances: they don’t necessarily know you very well. Reaching out to an acquaintance when it’s time to move might or might not get you results; instead, you would probably ask good friends or relatives—the people who you are sure you can count on. Influencers and advocates can be like cheerleaders for your business: influencers can spread your message like a kind of celebrity endorsement, while advocates are those who are already circulating positive information about your brands. In this white paper, you will learn more about influencers and advocates: how to find, engage, nurture and motivate them.

1http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/under-the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertising.html

Discover Your Influencers

First, we’ll discuss influencers. An influencer typically has an established voice on a particular subject, with a significant network of viewers, readers or followers. Influencers are professional publishers: speakers, podcasters, analysts, thought leaders, popular bloggers, authors or journalists who have built a reputation within their niche and developed trust with their followers. They may have a traditional or video blog, a news column or a substantial following on a social media network such as Twitter or Facebook.

Influencers can be important in helping you expand your reach to those with limited or no exposure to your brand, since they can motivate by leveraging their reputation with their followers. To begin looking for influencers, search for people who are making posts about the brands you and your competitors offer and/or fit into your brand’s lifestyle. Data science software like People Pattern can also help you determine which platforms your existing and desired audiences already use—you might

not get the results you’re looking for if your influencer posts on a network your audiences don’t use. You can also rank potential influencers by clarifying how well their content aligns with your brands. Some items to consider include how often they post, the quality of their content, their relevance to your customers and their level of audience engagement. Once you’ve identified a list of potential influencers, it’s time to connect.

Activate Your Influencers

Influencers might not respond well to a cold call—think about the last time you got one. Was that experience positive for you? Instead, you might consider building a rapport by: •  Subscribing to their content •  Reposting their content •  Learning more about the person behind the blog: likes, dislikes, values, etc. •  Making comments on their posts •  Researching their audience •  Liking, favoriting or upvoting their posts •  Mentioning them in your own posts •  Asking for their opinion in your own posts •  Offering to interview them as part of your own content strategy Once you have a burgeoning relationship with the influencer, then reach out directly with a personalized approach: a brief call, email or by meeting in person at an event. You’ll want to find out how much they know about your business and its competitors, whether they think your values align and whether they’re interested in a relationship with your brand. Let them know why they’re a good match for your brand, the kind of involvement you are looking for and the benefits of the partnership. Make your offer easy to accept—remember, there’s a difference between asking for a quick favor and a hefty time commitment.

Motivate Your Influencers

There are a variety of ways to motivate influencers, and each person may have different expectations. For some, the possibility of increasing their awareness and credibility through partnership with your brand may

be sufficient, while others might require a bit more incentive. Some ideas include: • Providing the influencer with free product in exchange for a review • Collaborating with the influencer at an industry event • Involving the influencer in product development or product launch • Praising the influencer in your own content • Offering to improve the influencer’s resources: for example, perhaps you can lend a designer to help refresh their blog site • Adding links to their website or social media networks • Participating in a joint venture • Requesting a guest post on your own social media sites • Providing financial compensation Whether you do some or all of the above, don’t forget to thank your influencers for their participation, both publicly and privately. Like every other relationship, nurturing it will help it flourish over time.

Discover Your Advocates

Like influencers, advocates can help you extend your reach to existing and desired audiences. Advocates may not have the large number of followers that your influencers have, but their superfan mentality and loyalty to your brand is often passionate enough that they repeatedly share positive brand experiences. Advocates can include customers, employees, partners and others who are already supporting, or are willing to support, your business and its brands. To better understand what an advocate is, think about discussions you’ve had about, say, Coke versus Pepsi or Apple versus PC. It’s likely you’ve interacted with brand advocates—or even been a brand advocate yourself—without even realizing it. Finding advocates is similar to finding influencers. Modern data science software can provide audience insights that can lead you to the people who are already a champion for your brand. You’re likely to find advocates on a wider variety of social platforms, so be sure to include not only the obvious places like Facebook and Twitter, but also some of the less popular networks, discussion forums or even product reviews on shopping websites.

Activate and Motivate Your Advocates

Your advocates may already be motivated to support your brands because they’ve had positive experiences with your business. You can build long-term relationships with advocates by involving them with your brand. They likely aren’t expecting any compensation, but surprising and delighting your advocates with simple, cost-effective rewards can go a long way. Some suggestions to build relationships with your advocates include inviting them to subscribe to an email list, Facebook page or other forum or community. From there, you can communicate with advocates as a group separate from your general audience. Most brand advocates are motivated by Stuff, Access, Power or Status (SAPS). When you learn more about your advocates, you can determine how they gravitate to various incentives.

Stuff

Free stuff can be a great way to engage new advocates while serving as a gateway into other motivators. Some common ideas for giveaways include: • A gift card or high-value coupon • A contest for a higher value item • Company swag

Access

These brand advocates want to be insiders who receive treatment. You can activate these advocates by: • Inviting them on a facility tour • Offering a VIP experience at a company event • Provide access to a special support line, or to specific employees

Power

Empowering your advocates with the ability to influence your brand can be a strong motivator. Provide ways for them to feel like they’re making an impact: • Offer a sneak peek or early access for a new product line • Invite them to test your products and provide feedback • Ask them to share unique ways they’ve used your products and feature those uses in upcoming content

Status

Advocates motivated by status want to be recognized as an authority, connoisseur or expert for your brand. Some ideas to give your advocates status include: • Create a community where advocates can interact • Gamify loyalty with badges, leader boards or points to earn rewards • Award special status to certain advocates

Equal and Opposite Action: Discover and Reach Out to Your Critics

It might sound counterproductive to consider reaching out to your critics. But most people don’t post about a brand or product unless they really love or really hate something. The people who criticize your brand are

clearly passionate about your brand, even if it’s not the kind of passion you’re hoping for. Don’t ignore your critics! Instead of shying away, reach out to them, especially if you can get in front of a PR incident. When you take the time to understand where negative feedback is coming from and handle it gracefully, you enter into a potentially transformative conversation. After all, you might be surprised at the insights your critics can give you: • Bug fixes • Product design, features and improvements • Ways to improve customer service • Opportunities to educate customers • Insights into how to follow up with customers You may or may not be able to convert a critic into a customer. Regardless, your brand can benefit from

demonstrating that you as a company are open to communicating with everyone in the spirit of improvement.

Conclusion

Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of how influencers and advocates can and should be a part of your marketing strategy, you can begin to develop a plan for finding, activating and motivating them. Like all other marketing, you should have ways for measuring success. Keep an eye on how your influencers and advocates respond to each type of motivator, periodically reviewing what works best. Over time, you can fine-tune your strategy to continually nurture long-term advocates while re-engaging inactive advocates as well as attracting new ones.

About People Pattern

People Pattern is a Software as a Service platform that supplies meaningful Audience Insights to the world’s biggest brands. Via semi-supervised machine-learned algorithms and natural language processing, People Pattern turns vast, messy public expression into actionable persona sets, helping brands gain an edge in the race to win, retain and serve customers.

 

 

It appears you don't have Adobe Reader or PDF support in this web browser.

Click here to download the PDF

Welcome to the edge of the future.

501 Pedernales St.

Suite #1B

Austin, Texas 78702

 

512-499.0989

hello@peoplepattern.com

© People Pattern • All Rights Reserved • Privacy Policy

> Demo

> Free Tool

> Blog

> Resources

> Careers