Report: Why Life Event Marketing Is More Effective Than Demographic Targeting

By Kimberlee Morrison Comment

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Demographics have been one of the defining tools marketers use to serve the right content to the right audiences. However, we’ve seen that broad demographic data can lead to inaccurate targeting and wasted resources. A report from Networked Insights demonstrates how targeting your marketing around life events may be a much more effective strategy.

Life events provide a lot of opportunity for marketers. Consumers going through life events are much more likely to have similar purchase needs than consumers that are merely in the same age, gender or income demographic. Additionally, if brands are able to get this marketing right they can begin to engage in lifecycle marketing for those consumers.

“Hi-def” marketing, as Networked Insights terms it, is the idea that targeted life event marketing is better than demographic data, because it brings the right content to the right people. The study identified three main data points that could help marketers discover opportunities:

  1. Consumer interests: the brands, media, websites, and the apps consumers are talking about
  2. Consumer emotions: the positive and negative sentiment associated with the life event
  3. Emotional drivers: the situations that drive broad consumer emotions like excitement, anxiety, etc.

Overall, emotions contribute to a significant portion of the discussion around life events like graduating, buying a home, or having a child. The study noted that 25.8 to 35.2 percent of all discussion of these topics is based around emotional discussion with 71.2 to 73.9 percent of those emotions being positive.

Each of these life events provides its own challenges for consumers, and each event is accompanied by its own emotional spectrum. For example, recent college graduates experience a wide range of emotions including desire (22 percent), hope (10 percent), and love (10 percent).

These emotions are informed by emotional drivers: 52 percent of the emotional conversation is centered around love. What that means is consumers are talking about having a career instead of a job, their love of living in a big city, or their love of an improved financial situation.

College graduates are interested in brands like Apple, Starbucks, Visa, and apps like Skype and Snapchat. Compare that to consumers who recently bought a home, and the brands they’re discussing are more likely to be Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ikea.

Since almost every social company is now a big data company, it would be foolish to continue targeting marketing messages so broadly. When users are willing to share personal information, marketers should be treating it carefully, but with targeted messaging marketers could get the right message to the right consumer at exactly the right time.

Readers: have you tried using life event marketing? If so, what were the results?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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