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Unlocking the power of audience data to make smarter marketing decisions

I have never been very good with math. I failed Algebra twice in High School and did everything I could to avoid taking more advanced classes. Today, I even have a hard time helping my 13-year-old daughter with her homework.

That said, throughout my career, I have learned the importance of data–specifically how to interpret data to make better marketing and communications decisions. The great news is that there are platforms today that can deliver insights to marketers without the need for a data scientist to interpret.

Here are 3 questions you can answer immediately by diving into audience data:

1. What is my audience interested in?

More importantly, what are the interests and characteristics that make your audience unique? This is an important distinction. Everyone likes music. Everyone likes shopping. Some people prefer one TV show over another. The power in social data is that you can compare these interests to a general population (some call this “the average” user). So if you see that your specific audience has an affinity for soccer 85x more than the general population, you may consider sponsoring a soccer team, buying media on a sports media publisher, add soccer-related keywords to your paid media targeting strategy, or create content that’s aligned to soccer.

Seems pretty self-explanatory but insights like this can help differentiate your brand from your competitors and deliver real business value.

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2. What type of media does my audience read?

This is extremely helpful for my PR colleagues. Many times, brands will want coverage in all the top media publications like the New York Times, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. These are certainly great goals and if you work for Google, Amazon or Apple, securing coverage in this media would be fairly easy.

However, for smaller, less-sexy brands this isn’t that achievable right away. The good news is that audience data can uncover insights that would be visible to the naked eye. For example, you may find that media publications like WIRED, MIT Technology Review or the Harvard Business Review are media sites that resonate higher with your audience than that of the New York Times. This level of insight can help PR professional prioritize their media relations strategy and secure coverage with the media that their audience actually reads.

3. How can I leverage influencers to reach my audience?

I typically the follow the 1:9:90 Model of Influence when I build influencer marketing programs. Doing so, helps segment the market into 3 groups–influencers, the core audience and the general market: 

  • Influencers: This is 1% of the market. When they speak, tweet, record a video or are quoted in the news, everyone listens. Their content typically travels extremely far across the internet due to the virality of their content. 
  • Core Audience: This is the 9% of the market. They typically repackage influencer content and share with everyone else. They will usually add their own point of view before sharing. They are also influential. 
  • The Market: This is everyone else. They rely heavily on Google and word of mouth. They essentially validate (or not) what the 1% and 9% say about a brand, product or topic.

By looking at what your audience is sharing and who they follow, you can uncover the 1% and activate influencers to tell your brand story in an effort to reach the entire market.

It’s time to take the guesswork out of marketing and go from hoping to knowing. You can do this by using platforms like Audiense… and the great thing is that you don’t have to be a data scientist either.

Here are several examples of how I use social data, audience intelligence and influencer analytics to build smarter, more strategic marketing programs.


Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash.

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