Know Your Audience

Generational Differences Should Change Your Marketing

Understanding the influences our audiences have in their lives and psyche are crucial to user experience. While you needn’t know every detail, you must have an understanding of generational differences, beyond the cursory understanding provided by the media. Choose your words based on your audience, and your connections will be more real.

B-Gen-header-1tradb Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: Veterans, Silent, Moral Authority, Radio Babies, The Forgotten Generation

CHARACTERISTICS: Raised by parents that just survived the great depression. Experienced hard times while growing up which were followed by times of prosperity. They’re influenced by… WWII, Korean War, Great Depression, New Deal, Rise on Corporations, and The Space Age.

VALUES: honor, compliance, sacrifice, dedication, hard work, good attitude, attendance, practical knowledge, loyalty

Looking for recognition and respect for their experience, value placed on history/ traditions, job security and stability, reputation, defined rules and policies, with adherence to the same, integrity and a willingness to act.

COMMUNICATION WITH TRADITIONALISTS

  • Be discrete
  • Show respect for their age/experience (address formally)
  • Use good grammar andmanners, absolutely noprofanity, dramatically limit slang
  • Deliver your message basedon history and traditionswhenever possible
  • Present your story in a formal, logical manner
  • Don’t waste their time
  • Use inclusive language (we, us)
  • Focus-words not body language
  • Be slow to “warm up”
  • Whenever possible, use hand written notes, less email, and more personal interaction
B-Gen-header-2bb2 Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: “Me” Generation, Moral Authority

CHARACTERISTICS: They question everything and are slow to trust. They handle crisis well. Ambitious, anti-establishment, competent, idealistic, and live to work. They dislike conflict. Often challenging the authority of Traditionalists, and are judgmental if others disagree. Highest divorce rate and 2nd marriages in history. They’re influenced by… Civil Rights, Vietnam War, Sexual Revolution, Cold War, Space Travel.

VALUES: family loyalty, involvement, personal gratification, personal growth.

Post War Babies who grew up to be radicals of the 70’s and yuppies of the 80’s, “The American Dream” was promised to them as children and they actively pursue it. As a result they are sometimes viewed as materialistic or ambitious.

COMMUNICATION WITH BABY BOOMERS

  • Be diplomatic
  • Communicate in person whenever possible
  • Speak openly and directly
  • Use body language to communicate
  • Present options (this group responds to flexibility)
  • Use electronic communications as well as face to face (direct)
  • Learn what is important to them such as values, priorities, or opinions
  • Answer questions thoroughly and expect to be pressed for details
  • Avoid manipulative/controlling language
  • This group will respond to your “personal touch”
  • Get consensus. This group wants to be included, without you may cause offense
  • Establish a friendly rapport
  • OK to use first names
B-Gen-header-3genx Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: Gen X, Xers, The Doer, Post Boomers, 13th Generation

CHARACTERISTICS: This is a group of dynamic young leaders with an appreciation for cutting edge systems/technology. They are forward thinking in company environments, and flexible in scheduling. They value input on merit, not age or seniority. They’re influenced by… Watergate, Energy Crisis, Single Parents, First Generation of Latchkey Kids, Y2K, Activism, Corporate Downsizing, End of Cold War, and Increasing Divorce Rates.

VALUES: balance, diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, fun.

They are educated and have high job expectations. Independent, informal, and lack organizational loyalty. They are pragmatists that seek life balance and self-reliance. This group is unimpressed with authority and skeptical of “institutions.”

COMMUNICATION WITH GENERATION X

  • Be direct
  • Be immediate
  • Use straight talk, and present facts
  • Use email as the # 1 tool
  • Learn their language and speak it
  • Use informal communication style
  • Speak in short sound-bytes
  • Share information immediately and often
  • This generation has the potential to bridge the generation gap between the youngest and oldest workers
  • Don’t micro manage them, but rather manage details on their behalf
  • Avoid buzz words and jargon
  • Tie your message to “results”
B-Gen-header-4m2-1 Know Your Audience

KNOWN AS: Generation Y, Gen Y, Generation Next, Echo Boomers, Chief Friendship Officers, 24/7s

CHARACTERISTICS: They value achievement and civic duty, and are confident, avid consumers. They are extremely competitive, and are the most educated generation. They are optimistic and value instant gratification. Eager to spend, ambitious, but not focused. Have been indulged, “me first” attitude, and politically savvy. They have a strong sense of entitlement. They’re influenced by… Their coming of age during a period of economic expansion, who were kept extremely busy as children.

IN THE WORKPLACE THEY ARE:

  • Goal Oriented.
  • Prefer diversity, technology, informality and fun.
  • Expect to influence the terms and conditions of their workplace.
  • Have a work ethic that does not mandate 10 hour days.
  • Have high expectations of bosses and managers to be mentors.
  • Want long term work relationships, but on their own terms.

This group believes that because of technology, they can work flexibly anytime, anyplace and that they should be evaluated on work product, not how, when or where it was done.

COMMUNICATION WITH MILLENNIALS

  • Be polite
  • Use positive, respectful, motivational, electronic communication style (cell phones, email, IM, text)
  • Communicate in person if the message is very important
  • Use email and voice mail as #1 tools
  • Don’t talk down-they will resent it, and you
  • Show respect through language and they will respect you
  • Use action verbs
  • Use language to portray visual pictures
  • Be humorous – show you are human
  • Be careful about the words you use and the way you say it (they are not good at personal communication because of technical ways of communicating)
  • Be positive
  • This group prefers to learn in networks, teams using multimedia while being entertained and excited

How 10 Minutes of Research Changed Manufacturer’s Product Offerings

Where did your last brilliant business idea come from? Was it an aha moment, an epiphany … or was it from something you read or saw that sparked your idea?

Our Lawn and Garden client had been selling trellises online and in big box retail locations. These products performed satisfactorily in those retail locations, and the search volume around these items supported those sales.

Digital Campaign Performance vs Sales

B-ResearchOfferings-graph-trellis1 How 10 Minutes of Research Changed Manufacturer’s Product Offerings
B-ResearchOfferings-graph-trellis2 How 10 Minutes of Research Changed Manufacturer’s Product Offerings

But what about similar products? How do they compare?  With a quick review of the search volumes for “lattice,” we quickly discovered that the combined search quantities were three times that of “trellis.”

Our client had both the materials and the capabilities already in place to manufacture this product. With upcoming annual sales meetings, our client used our market research and data to help bolster their pitch for adding lattices to the repertoire of products carried by retailers and distributors. The jury is still out on the final outcome, but it is a shining example of how sales and marketing can align to drive strategy and key decisions.

Geo-Fencing Might Be a BuzzWord, but the Results Are Real

At Advance 360, we meet with a lot of people. Lately, one of the most frequently asked questions is around “geo-fencing.” This buzzword has become so popular that our clients want to learn more about it and how we can put it to use for them.

Geo-Fencing is a term that simply means targeting someone by the location of their device. For example, a shopping service can target individuals that go to a certain grocery store by locating their device inside that store and sending them marketing during and after their visit. While a pizzeria might target devices in a local stadium. Or, it can be used to target attendees at a trade show. The uses are endless.

Retailers attend an industry conference, where wholesalers are taking orders for their seasonal product lines. For the retailer, they are looking for new items to sell. For the vendors it is a heated competition in which they want their items to be top of mind. They are competing with 100 other wholesalers with similar items. Messaging the retailer attendees while they’re at the show can help them get noticed and make a connection.

Tradeshow Creative Examples:

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B-geofence-recTS2 Geo-Fencing Might Be a BuzzWord, but the Results Are Real

Messaging attendees while they’re at the show can improve the top-of-mind awareness for vendors and drive incremental business. In an environment where literally every fifteen steps is a new purchase opportunity, every close counts. Get a jumpstart by messaging the very people you are selling to.

B-geofence-mapareas Geo-Fencing Might Be a BuzzWord, but the Results Are Real

Using technology to your advantage means you can now follow these devices home, serving messages after the event and growing the length of your exchange with your retailers. Get specific, at this point! There’s nothing wasted by securing one more sale after the show closes.

Post Tradeshow Creative Examples:

B-geofence-recPost1 Geo-Fencing Might Be a BuzzWord, but the Results Are Real
B-geofence-recPost2 Geo-Fencing Might Be a BuzzWord, but the Results Are Real

Once the retailer has left the show, the opportunity to meet with them face to face may have ended. But the chance to influence whether they do business with you has not! They’ve seen your name and potentially even met with you. Now you can close the deal without another meeting.

Using geographic, latitude/longitude targeting of devices makes sense for any show. Make the most of your next tradeshow experience!

Understanding Site Traffic Critical to Business Development

You have spent so much time over the years getting the right product mix in your store, setting up displays to produce an effective flow, having Sales Associates there to greet and engage your customers. Are you thinking about the same things for your website? Well, you should since three out of four shoppers who find online, local information helpful are more likely to visit stores. Once in the store, 46% are conducting research on the retailer’s site/app. *Think with Google

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B-46percent Understanding Site Traffic Critical to Business Development

Understanding the Path to Conversion

The decision to buy may be long (a home, a car, travel) or short (tonight’s dinner, a new top), but has the same steps. From awareness to advocacy, you know that your customers learn of your brand, research or engage with it, and decide to buy or not to buy through your website.

B-conversionpath Understanding Site Traffic Critical to Business Development

Employ Digital Analytics to Track, Test
& Measure a Customer’s Journey

Watch entry and exit points.

Watch what’s happening carefully. Does traffic enter your site on your home page every time? Do they all take the same path through your content to the point of purchase? If they do, you have an extremely linear experience—which is rare (if not unheard of). Sites should have enough content to educate and inform, but also a clear call to action. Where your visitors exit can also be telling. Do they “get lost” within a particular area of your site, and leave before taking action? What steps can be taken to prevent this from happening, and shorten the number of clicks from the first to the last page?

Average Page Views

If the average of pages viewed per visit is three or more, the path to conversion may be too long. For instance: if your doctor’s office site has been created to generate new patients, those brand new patients might want to explore the credentials of the staff, the treatment types they offer, and whether or not the office is accepting new patients. All of these pieces of content could be contained on the home page. A click to call feature or click to see available appointments would provide instant gratification for any new patient.

B-MendelsonKornblum-700fade Understanding Site Traffic Critical to Business Development

This orthopedic specialist has a popup click to make an appointment. It isn’t intrusive, but it allows for new patients to immediately connect.

Time on Site

If your site is intended to simplify a purchase, the faster you can close a transaction the better. Take Sheplers’ Mackinac Island Ferry, for instance. This site was built to change the Shepler’s model from a labor intensive, manual purchase through an in-person ticket window to a seamless, online experience using a mobile device. The customer should be able to complete their transaction in less than 3 minutes. Returning customers, less than 2 minutes. Rather than 20 minutes in a ticket line, a 3-minute smartphone exchange is significantly better. But knowing that optimizations can be made over time by carefully monitoring the areas of the transaction that take the most time can further decrease friction in the purchase process.

B-sheplers-700x444 Understanding Site Traffic Critical to Business Development

Top Visited Pages

Like a magician that invites you to “pick a card,” you should know what selections your viewers will choose most frequently. Pieces of content that introduce a new program or product, or offer a “featured” feel will likely draw more attention than a blog posted 10 months ago. The more prominent the placement, the more relevant it should be to the user. Think about both frequency and recency. How often does your client transact on your site? If monthly, perhaps you change content features once each month. More frequently? Match the frequency and recency of your average (not the most valuable) client, and you’ll capture their attention with the content you provide.

B-checkinmichigan-700x528 Understanding Site Traffic Critical to Business Development

The Check In Michigan home page features the nearest upcoming events, and the most recent news and industry updates. Both are dynamic, keeping up to date without manual maintenance needed.

Organic versus Paid Traffic

A certain percentage of your traffic will know and visit you because they are already aligned with your brand. While it’s important to maintain a current customer, it’s also important to foster new business. Is your search budget generating a healthy percentage of your site traffic? How about display? Measuring how your customers are reaching you, and then taking steps to amplify or modify that traffic purposefully is among the best ways to use your knowledge of site traffic to benefit your business.

Geography, Demography

Where your traffic originates as well as the age or characteristics of your traffic can tell you so much. Knowing that your average site visitor is 50 means the messages that will influence him or her should be very different. Perhaps you are looking to diversify the age ranges of the clientele your serve. Measuring the mix of these individuals will help you identify when your marketing activities are successful.

Regardless of the goal, understanding who is on your site, how they convert, and what they consume while in your digital footprint will make tomorrow’s marketing activities smarter than today’s. Consider analytics as the foundation of a marketing strategy, rather than the way to measure it, and you’ll be more successful at launch.

Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor

The TripAdvisor ranking is based on seasonal hotel booking interest from spring to summer, including the average one-week vacation costs for hotels and airfare. As Mackinac’s Agency of Record, Advance 360 is thrilled to celebrate this well-deserved recognition.

B-Mackinac-quote1 Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor
B-Mackinac-quote2 Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor
B-Mackinac-social Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor

Advance 360, the Mackinac Island Tourism’s Agency of Record, has worked diligently to achieve this notoriety, but also dramatically improve the revenue of the island and the length of the peak season. Both have made tremendous inroads — growing by more than 30% in revenue since 2013.

In 2013, Mackinac Island Tourism identified a need for a refined, laser targeted digital campaign. Since that time, the budgetary commitment to this proven digital strategy has more than doubled, and the results speak for themselves.

Products Used:

• Paid Search
• SEO
• Display and Re-messaging
• Responsive Rich Media
• Sponsor Content
• Social Media Management and Amplification
• Web Design and Development
• Video Pre-Roll

Strategy

The primary goal has always been to increase total room revenue on Mackinac Island. Advance 360 knows that increasing site traffic and conversions on mackinacisland.org are the leading indicators of how the island will pace with regards to room revenue. Adjusting and solving for the appropriate increase in web visitors during target months, the strategy lifted traffic and with it, room night revenue.

Because the island is open only May through October, the window of opportunity is short. Using historical data, travel research, and audience profiling, Advance 360 was able to predict peaks in bookings, understand target audiences and messaging, and lift conversions. Insights from SEM analysis dictated a full year marketing campaign that elevated bookings in both early and late season, adding to increase of total room revenue for the island.

Advance 360 is still the DAOR for Mackinac Island and 2018 pacing is currently on track to exceed campaign key performance indicators.

Results

From 2013-2018, since Advance 360 has become Mackinac Island’s Digital Agency of Record, they have seen the following increases:

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CREATIVE EXAMPLES

Digital Ads:

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MackinacIsland-300x250-20180518-mb-IsForCouples3 Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor
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MackinacIsland-300x250-20180518-mb-IsForQuiet Mackinac Island Named Number 1 Summer Destination in America by TripAdvisor
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Website:

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88.3% INCREASE IN ADMITTED STUDENTS

Public, four-year state university leverages re-targeting to bring in Top Recruits

How can a state university recruit the most impressive student prospects online? Especially when there’s no database that tracks students by GPA or academic performance. For the College of Science at a four-year state university, recruiting high schoolers who excel in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) was a top priority. The state university worked with Advance 360 to reach STEM students online and increase enrollment in the College of Science.

We developed a four week digital campaign leading up to National Decision Day, when seniors choose which college to attend — researching the 40 top-performing STEM high schools in the four closest states. Half of the campaign went toward mobile in-app ads, geo-targeted to those schools. Any student who engaged with an ad and then left the area were retargeted later using the other half of the budget. In total, the university spent less than $3,000 to deliver 250,000 ad impressions over four weeks. By National Decision Day, the results were in.

B-Increase-icon1 88.3% INCREASE IN ADMITTED STUDENTS
B-Increase-icon3b 88.3% INCREASE IN ADMITTED STUDENTS
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Customer Relationship Management: Use Your Data for Big Results

Written by Advance 360, this content was originally published in The Retail Jeweler.

It’s easy to overlook the value of your Point of Sale (POS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems when assisting a guest in your store. Seeing others requiring your attention — whether staff or client — can seem more important in the moment. But using your own customer data, you can finely tune the message to your existing clientele, dramatically improving the yield from relationships you already have.

Article-UseDataForResults Customer Relationship Management: Use Your Data for Big Results

You likely know (without looking!) the most requested pieces in your inventory. You may even be able to quote the margin on those pieces, naming the profit each time one or more sells. But would you know the characteristics of the individuals that purchased these, in order to create more clientele that are looking for similar items? What about direct marketing efforts that could anticipate or even suggest that a client you know will make a visit to the store? With data, it’s possible.

Understanding your Client List
With the savvy running of a few reports from your system, trends can rapidly become apparent. You might start with segments of the business, like diamonds, bridal, fashion, repair or custom designs. Inside each of these segments, your “best” clients can be easily determined. Perhaps you consider them best based on their investment, or possibly based on frequency of visit. Whatever it is that makes them “best,” write it down. Understanding the characteristics of these individuals is what will make your marketing work better.

Now what?
Now, marketing themes emerge. Your “best” fashion jewelry clients visit four times a year, spending $500 each time. Great! Now we know that your advertising should focus on items that fall within these parameters. Message those individuals with advertising that will build upon what you already know about them. What about the rest of the client list for fashion purchases? That comes easily: sending messaging that turns them from small basket to larger basket clients with increasing frequency. Let’s not send advertising to those spending $2,000 annually an ad featuring a small basket purchase. Similarly, let’s not send those spending $250 annually an ad featuring the $2,500 item!

Making More of the Data You Have
The more personal information you have on an individual client, the more readily available they will be to you in the digital space. With a name, email address and phone number, Facebook and Instagram can find and message that person. As you act on growing your client base, these segments can be used to find audiences that share characteristics with those you already have, allowing you to message those that “look alike.”

In retail jewelry, data is the most powerful tool available. Don’t miss an opportunity to capture information that will help you grow your business. Just like revenue is grown one sale at a time, a great marketing strategy is grown one contact at a time.

Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)

The higher education market is highly competitive, especially for two-year colleges and community colleges that compete with four-year universities for students. Additionally, community colleges battle the negative perception that they are the post-secondary destination of “last resort.”

Community colleges thrived during the economic recession as students who were struggling to pay for a four-year university or to find work looked to improve their academic and professional credentials. As the economy recovered, community colleges have had to get creative in their marketing to potential students. Our client approached Advance 360 to construct a strategy targeting a very specific audience of community college prospects — summer transient students.

THE STRATEGY

B-CCengage-icon1a Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)
B-CCengage-icon2a Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)
B-CCengage-icon3a Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)

THE CHALLENGE

The local community college was struggling to reach the summer transient students. These are students who live in the county, are eligible to take classes and have credits transferred back to their original institutions. In addition, the local community college wanted to reach the parents of children that are most likely to participate in summer classes.

The strategy that was created revolved primarily around three tactics to reach parents and students. First, targeting geographically, to focus on very specific locations where the likeliest audience exists. In this case, targets included six college campuses that would function like “feeder schools.” In social media, Advance 360 targeted students enrolled at schools nearest the community college and/or within a 40 mile radius of the city. Responsive Rich Media, or RRM, communicated the advantages of summer classes at the community college, in an engaging way.

RESULTS

B-CCengage-statsb Community College Garners Record Engagements (+253%)

Retailers: Use Your Owned-Data to Improve Results

It’s easy to overlook the value of your Point of Sale (POS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems when assisting a guest in your store. Seeing others requiring your attention — whether staff or client — can seem more important in the moment. But using your own customer data, you can finely tune the message to your existing clientele, dramatically improving the yield from relationships you already have.

FINELY TUNE YOUR MESSAGE WITH DATA

Using your own customer data, you can finely tune the message to your existing clientele, dramatically improving the yield from relationships you already have.

You know intrinsically which SKUs or inventory items are most popular. You probably have a sense of the profit on these items. But would you know the characteristics of the individuals that purchased these, in order to create more clientele that are looking for similar items?

With data, It’s possible.

What about direct marketing efforts that could anticipate or even suggest that a client you know will make a visit to the store?

Understanding your Client List

Trends can rapidly become apparent when you study reports from your POS or CRM. Understanding the characteristics of those individuals making the purchase is what will make your marketing work better. The more you can build creative messaging and marketing placements around the most popular pieces of inventory, greatest profit margin items, or personality type of the purchaser, the more effective it will be.

The more personal information you have on an individual client, the more readily available they will be to you in the digital space. With a name, email address and phone number, Facebook and Instagram can find and message that person. As you act on growing your client base, these segments can be used to find audiences that share characteristics with those you already have, allowing you to message those that “look alike.”

Just like revenue is grown one sale at a time, a great marketing strategy is grown one data point at a time. It is crucial that you fully understand your audience targets, their behaviors and motivators, media consumption preferences, and predictive performance metrics. To do so, insights gathered from your data should be used to inform and guide the entire strategy. The end result is a strategy aimed at the right people, at the right times, in the right places that delivers on your goals.