Move Out Of The Funnel And Into The Fast Lane

Lance Porigow, EVP of growth at The Shipyard.

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Lance Porigow, EVP of growth at The Shipyard.

Building performance-driven brands that people love is now possible on a scale never before imaginable – at least for those of us willing to embrace new concepts.  

Consider the traditional sales funnel. A funnel by its nature reduces a quantity to make it more manageable. But don’t brands want more customers – not less? 

Instead of a funnel that slows traffic, we need to create a ubiquitous, always-accessible “sales superhighway” that provides countless on-ramps. This change of perspective will impact both how we define our potential audiences and the speed with which we have meaningful interactions with them.

Buckle up for more audiences

Today’s marketing technology allows brands to identify and connect with all of their potential audiences, tailoring messaging and experiences to be more meaningful. The goal is to bring buyers along for the ride in a highly personalized lane.

But to maximize traffic flow on the sales superhighway, marketers must first identify as many potential audiences as possible before starting to build and execute campaigns. It is easy to assume who a brand’s ideal customer would be. But there are hundreds of factors beyond gender, age and location that motivate purchases.

These factors can create audiences that vary in size, but it’s important to note that an audience doesn’t have to be very big before it’s considered a discrete, desirable market. Micro-communications relevant for each audience can be created relatively easily and inexpensively.

Tactics for better targeting

It is important to develop multiple creative strategies and executions to connect with audiences. This typically includes multiple landing pages designed to take consumers from first touch to sale in a single web session, while setting them up for ongoing communication that gets more personalized over time. 

Tools like machine learning can strengthen personalization, while expanding potential audiences. For example, Walgreen’s used AI as part of its recent “Vaccine Readiness Model” campaign. By understanding the factors impacting someone’s “readiness” for COVID vaccination, Walgreens built specific narratives for people across the readiness spectrum. Using a large data set, an algorithm ensured that people received the messaging most likely to move them toward vaccination.

Brand partnerships are another strategy that can push personalization and targeting further. Think of Delta teaming up with American Express on an air miles program, T-Mobile offering Netflix to qualified new subscribers or even e.l.f. cosmetics partnering with Chipotle and Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Through collaborations between a brand a consumer already loves and one they may not realize is relevant to them, marketers can carve out entirely new audiences to target. And if a consumer already loves both products, existing bonds can be reinforced and strengthened, paving the way for deeper consumer intelligence and personalization. 

These efforts work not only in the short-term but also over time. They can provide valuable first-party data that helps us better understand potential audiences intimately and precisely. This in turn can help identify how best to interact across audiences, while identifying new ones. 

A sales superhighway empowers marketers to best fulfill their mission: creating performance-based communications that spark brand love.

Follow The Shipyard (@theshipyardcrew) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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