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India 2016 |Brand Building Best Practices | Targeting

Brand challenge: Reach the right consumer group at the right time
And be authentic and inclusive in all brand communications
By Meheer Thakare
Head of Digital Solutions, South Asia
Kantar Millward Brown
It’s 8:00 on a Friday morning. Rucha, a research fellow in Mumbai, feels like eating a hearty breakfast in her cozy room and decides to treat herself. She picks up her phone and starts searching online for a place nearby that will deliver a pair of cinnamon rolls to her doorstep. Thirty-five minutes later she is still looking for the right take-out restaurant.
Wow! Isn’t that a brand’s dream? A consumer spending dedicated time, intensively looking for a product they want to purchase. With the increasingly fragmented information-seeking behavior showcased by consumers today, how does a brand ensure that its targeted consumers have optimal and convincing accessibility to its product or services?
Brands spend considerable resources trying to accomplish this goal. Much of this investment traditionally has gone to mass media, in an effort to be in the consumer’s consideration set at the very moment of need. This approach is expensive and does not always look favorable on the balance sheet. Fortunately, with the right technology, there are more efficient ways to be top of mind. Consider these two strategies:
1. Need-based targeting
Digital (as well as traditional) outreach plans are inevitably based on demographic targeting parameters aimed at reaching an intended audience. The intended audience is a broadly defined group that the advertiser believes may be disposed to buy its product or service. But the real intended audience includes the narrower group of people who, in that moment, are ready to consider, if not purchase, the product or service. Smart advertisers recognize this, and have already embraced advanced marketing technology products that allow them to reach out to their consumers through programmatic advertising. This enables the possibilities of reaching out to the right consumer at the right time and in the right place.
2. Sensible automation
Growing consumer impatience makes the speed of communication important in brand communications. That is why brands increasingly rely on automated communications for marketing or after-sales support. Many brands deploy artificial intelligence techniques to interact with popular consumer queries. While these approaches yield tangible cost savings, they also reduce human interaction. Moderating automated messages with a touch of human involvement can go a long way to ensuring that a brand is not only always on, but is on in a relevant and effective way.
The strategies discussed may seem different from what traditional marketers are used to. And while the benefits are tangibly visible, the adoption path may not be quite clear. It’s like learning anything new; before long, you’ll be inspired but still wary of taking it up, then things begin to work out—and then, looking back, it will seem like a cakewalk. Let’s walk the path to be always on!