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Audience targeting isn’t just about good martech – it’s about understanding the market

  • 4 min read

There are big changes on the horizon for everyone in the martech space. Tech innovations are fundamentally changing how we go to market: AI, analytics, personalisation, chatbots, voice, audience targeting and so on and so on. 

And the message to marketers is clear: ignore these innovations at your peril. 

But it’s not simply technological innovations that are going to be the differentiator for successful companies in the coming years. It’s going to be what companies are doing with that technology. 

Which means that strategic thinkers, the thinkers who are aware of market influences far broader than just the latest martech will be the ones who stand out from the pack. 

And there are some major shifts happening out there that many marketers are missing because they’re so deep in the world of martech.


The way people engage with digital is changing

As the promise of being totally connected becomes a reality, a lot of people are discovering it’s not something they really want. 

According to the New York Times, across the pond the Silicon Valley elite (the people responsible for the proliferation of screen ubiquity) are raising their children without screens. Sending them to schools that are practically screen-free.

And in their spare time, they are spending their income on human experiences, not on technology or devices. 

Now, we hear most about the Silicon Valley elite because the irony of those making the screens avoiding the screens makes for great headlines, but the issue is far more global.

The dirty secret that most marketers are trying not to admit to themselves is that on their commute and at home, they’re feeling the exact same digital overload. Because digital overload is a thing that affects everyone, regardless of wealth or geography.

What this means for marketers is that sensitivity is key. We’ve entered an age now where we’re able to identify the many devices being used by a single user. 

Speaking at RampUp London 2019, Rusty Warner, Principal B2B Analyst at Forrester was telling a horror story about insensitive targeting:

“I was recently at a big martech summit, and there was a person on stage doing a demo. And this person actually said ‘If I can resolve your identity, and I know it’s you on the phone, on the tablet, on the laptop, and sitting in front of the TV, I can hit you with the same ad four times.’”

Instead, this technology should be used to more accurately target when the right time is to leave a potential customer alone. 

So your customer doesn’t feel overloaded and you don’t waste your spend. 


The way people buy is changing

Business models are shifting. Take the automotive industry for an example. Not only is ride-sharing booming, so is short-term car rental, and that’s before we even talk about the nature of car ownership once autonomous vehicles become mainstream.

Purchases that used to be a one-off are shifting to subscription models in everything from software to razor blades, and smart marketers need to keep a finger on the pulse of demand.

It doesn’t matter how laser-focused your audience targeting and segmentation is if that customer doesn’t want to buy your product in the way you’re selling it


The economy is changing

Depending on who you’re listening to, we’re either at one of two points economically: either the UK economy is booming, with employment at record levels, real wage growth at a two year high, economic growth exceeding expectations, and a world economy set to grow 3.6% in 2020. Or we’re right on the verge of the next recession.

The recession prediction is all about something called an ‘inverted yield curve’. It’s basically when long term interest rates drop to being lower than short term rates, and they happen just before recessions. Almost without fail. In the last six decades, there has only been one instance where an inverted yield curve hasn’t been followed by a recession.

And right now we’ve got an inverted yield curve. Plus, we haven’t even mentioned the dreaded B word.

So you’re either selling to a bullish market with money to spend, or you’re selling to a market that’s about to have a major economic downturn. 

Whichever it is, your audience targeting process is most likely about to change. 

Not only will the amount of money on the table change, your granular audience segmentation may change in ways that you couldn’t predict. This means that in order for you to reduce your wasted ad spend, you will need to do more strategic and regular segmentation audits.


Thinking strategically

The world is shifting. In ways that are unexpected and unpredictable. So it’s obvious that any marketer who is simply trying to find the best stack to deal with markets as they currently stand is going to get left behind.

Make no mistake, the marketers that will win big in the coming years will be the ones who find a way to make their tech stack work for them. But they will do that in conjunction with a strategy that covers the micro changes within martech and the macro changes in the world at large.

Which means if all you’re doing is the micro, now’s the time to broaden those horizons.


If you’re interested in learning more about building a model for the modern world, check out our free audience segmentation ebook.