Your target audience is a living person

March 27, 2014
Sarah Richmond-Basedow Media Strategist

Everyone knows one … the elusive on-the-go 35+ working mom. As an advertiser, you know the buying power she holds, but do you know her? Have you done the research needed to identify the best ways to reach her?

Where, when and how you can reach consumers goes way beyond billboards, TV and radio. Today’s consumers are on the go. And you can reach them with a campaign that’s tailored specifically to your unique target audience.

It’s pretty exciting, but it’s still worth stating … when you’re working on a media plan to support your messaging and advertising campaign, it’s important to know three things.

  1. Understand your audience. Know the specifics that go beyond age, gender and zip code. Understand their tastes, motivations and media consumption habits. Understand who they are, where you can reach them and how you can elicit action.
  2. Understand how to build and simplify a complex media plan. If you start by understanding the humanity of your target audience, you and your agency partner can work to develop a layered media plan that will reach them, impact them and make sure your story is known across a great many touch points.
  3. There’s creativity in message and there’s creativity in placement. Your agency may have developed some amazing creative for your campaign, but don’t forget to challenge them, and work with them, to apply that creativity to the placement of your ads based on that plan you develop.

Understanding and reaching your 35+ working mom
Our 35+ working mom is on her smartphone while her daughter is at gymnastics. Did you know you can reach her with mobile ads targeted to her based on her proximity to certain geographic locations? It’s true. And while the following example draws from a specific product, it’s illustrative of the opportunities we can consider when developing a media buy for your advertising plans.

Let’s use a fictitious coffee shop as an example. Fictitious Coffee Shop (try their scones, they’re terrific) sends a coupon ad to her phone. How did they know she likes the Fictitious Coffee Shop? She purchased a gift basket for her in-laws and from that transaction, Fictitious Coffee Shop has her contact information, but that doesn’t explain how her current geographic location caused her to receive the coupon.

Based on her transaction history and through the GPS on her phone, Fictitious Coffee Shop can set up a mobile campaign. Once customers like our working mom are within a five-mile radius of the coffee shop, coupon emails are sent out.

Does she mind or find this kind of advertising to be intrusive? Nah, she likes coffee, is motivated by coupons (which we know because she opted in to receive our coupons) and has 30 more minutes to kill.

She’s in the car, commuting to work. (The average travel time to work in the U.S. is 25.4 minutes FYI … all part of what you learn when researching a media buy.) She’s sitting in a traffic jam while a bus idles in front of her. She notices the back transit panel ad, the billboards dotting the landscape. She hears commercials on her favorite radio stations (she channel surfs and sometimes, she streams Pandora or Spotify in her car). The ads and their messages might not register immediately, but as she sees them again and again on billboards and buses, and hears them on the radio the familiarity of the product or promotion takes root.

It’s a story unfolding.

Frequency and diversity
You have the opportunity to get in front of your audience in a great many formats with a great many slices of that story of yours.

Our 35+ working mom is on her tablet at home checking the local news for information on the car accident that caused such a long commute home for her today. The accident was covered in the 5:00 p.m. news and she wants to see the coverage. Most news sites have (pre-roll) video advertisements that a user must watch before they can get to the news content and a user can’t skip the ad.

If you’ve invested in TV or radio production, you should make sure you’ve prepared those ads for an online run as well.

The bottom line, a carefully cultivated media plan gives you the chance to understand and reach your audience in ways that can have the richest impact for your message.

A complex web
She’s on her laptop at work and scours the Internet over her lunch hour, of course. Ahem! Her home page is the ever-popular search engine giant, Google. With Google she can search everything at her fingertips. Medical advice, recipes, travel … you can create and run relevant ads based on the keywords she types into the search bar, through Google AdWords.

Through Online Ad Networks you can reach her with relevant ads based on the content she searches for. She went to the website because she can’t take this dismal, eternal winter any longer and thinks it’s time for her family to get away. Based on her search activity, she starts seeing travel ads like and on different sites she visits. This is not random; this is based on her search history.

She’s in the market for a pair of sandals for the Florida trip she just booked, goes to a popular shoe website, sees a pair she likes, maybe tells herself they are too expensive and now with her daughter’s expensive gymnastics lessons she should not buy the sandals. So she leaves the site. The next day she sees online ads for the shoe company and those darn sandals. Why are they taunting her? She’s trying to be frugal. It’s not torment, it’s retargeting. She sees an ad for the sandals four more times over the next several days and in a moment of “I deserve this,” clicks to buy and it’s done.

Advertising isn’t stagnant and one dimensional … at least … it doesn’t have to be. It’s flexible, it’s personal and it can and will go everywhere she goes.

What’s next?
Your media plan doesn’t begin and end with that complex web of places you find your audience through her daily travel and media consumption habits.

Give your audience the chance to be a part of that campaign by integrating social media, social media advertising and your content marketing plans. Working together – integrating your media plans with your public relations and social media plans – gives your entire campaign strength.

Media planning is complex and takes a lot of research to fully understand both your audience and the diverse opportunities to reach them.

Do you have questions? Call me and let’s talk. We’re to here to help and have the resources to develop a plan that will extend your reach, grow your audience, increase your social engagement and drive your business goals.
Sarah Richmond is Core Creative’s media strategist.  She served as a media planner and buyer for nearly 10 years at two other Milwaukee-based marketing agencies. She has served clients in a number of industries including entertainment, higher education, athletics and health care. She has managed multi-million dollar campaigns and has developed strategies for optimizing placement regardless of budget size. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SRichMedia.


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