Let’s face it: marketing is a tough job. You have to balance the needs of the company with the expectations of the consumer. You have to navigate between the business’s performance targets and its audience’s goals, wants, and values.
Very often, this means that marketers must strike a compromise between the head and the heart. You must choose between data-driven options and a people-first approach.
The reality, though, is that even the most innovative and evidence-based marketing campaign means nothing if it can’t capture the hearts and minds of the target audience. This is why, if you want to truly reach your audience through your digital marketing campaign, you have to be willing to meet them where they are. We’ll show you how.
Do Your Homework
You’re never going to be able to communicate with your target audience effectively if you don’t first have a deep understanding of how they think and what they do. This is why research is often the cornerstone of an effective marketing campaign, even one that embraces the people-first ethos.
User behavior analytics can be an especially important tool for cultivating a digital marketing strategy that gets results. As the name suggests, these data are designed to understand what audiences do in particular situations.
For instance, they might provide insight into which social media platforms are more popular for specific demographic groups and how each group uses a particular platform.
Behaviour analytics, indeed, can get quite granular and nuanced. They may reveal, for example, that Gen Z prefers video-focused platforms, such as Instagram Reels and TikTok, and that they use them to search for product demos and reviews posted by uncompensated influencers rather than company employees or paid sponsors.
You may also find that this audience is more likely to share content featuring a specific brand or product or that this audience tends to be more active on the site in the late evening and early morning hours.
All of these analytical details can be translated into actionable strategies for crafting content that truly speaks to your target audience. Rather than crafting a traditional digital ad, for example, you might post a positive influencer product review on Instagram during peak user hours.
Understanding how your audience interacts with similar brands, in other words, is critical to making those all-important initial connections that can lead to ongoing and profitable relationships.
Prioritize Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
One of the greatest advantages of digital marketing, perhaps, is its agility. Digital platforms provide an unprecedented opportunity to connect with consumers in real-time and across a wide array of media.
Best of all, digital environments support a host of adaptations and modifications that simply would not be feasible through traditional media. This means that marketers have an extraordinary opportunity both to reach a wide and diverse audience and to build a brand that prioritizes inclusivity.
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) in marketing is on the up and up. More brands are becoming acutely aware of the effect that their outward messaging has on their success. If you aren’t showcasing your D&I in marketing messages, you may be losing customers.
Members of traditionally marginalized ethnic groups — such as those who identify as Black, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander — are up to two and half times more likely to purchase a product if said product has an obvious promotion of diversity, in general. Younger generations of consumers also value D&I in marketing, noting inclusivity when making their purchasing decisions.
Diversity in marketing includes recognizing differences in age, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, and ethnic group. When implementing diversity into your digital marketing campaigns, you should strive to represent diverse voices and personas to whom your customer base can relate.
Use sensitive language and work to decrease as much cultural bias in your marketing team as possible. This could mean implementing some D&I training periodically to ensure cultural sensitivity and bias awareness.
Further, you may choose to highlight any social causes that your business is fighting for. Above all, make sure that your diverse marketing material actually matches your actions. If there is a misalignment, consumers will undoubtedly notice. In fact, 57% of consumers become more loyal to brands when they see that the brands’ claims have been upheld.
Commit to addressing any social or cultural inequities and show that clearly in your marketing materials.
You may also expand your D&I efforts to include lesser-acknowledged communities that may need accessibility considerations to enjoy your marketing and products. For instance, an estimated 20% of the global population may be neurodiverse, with conditions ranging from dyslexia to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and beyond.
Despite the massive size of this particular demographic, however, persons with neurological, developmental, psychiatric, and physical differences have historically experienced profound marginalization and discrimination both in the media and in the broader community.
Digital marketers, though, are uniquely positioned to overcome this destructive history of exclusion by creating content that is accessible and engaging for users with neurodiversity and other special needs. Ensuring accessibility in digital marketing campaigns, for example, requires marketers to diversify their content.
This might include providing audio files as a substitute for text to enable users with vision impairments, dyslexia, or other disorders. Similarly, transcriptions and closed captioning of video content and audio files can help marketers reach audiences who are deaf or have hearing impairments, as well as those with autism or sensory processing disorders, who may find auditory content distressing or overstimulating.
Engage Your Audience
Truly reaching your target audience means understanding what they want, what they need, and what they do.
It also means creating content that is accessible and engaging for all, regardless of their particular needs. These are the fundamentals, but your work as a digital marketer doesn’t end there.
If you want to reach your audience, you have to be proactive as well as interactive. Once again, this is where the tremendous power of social media shines through.
For digital marketers, social media should never be just a one-way communication channel. To be sure, it can be useful for posting content that your audiences care about, but social media should be about far more than posting.
Indeed, perhaps its greatest capability is engagement. With a robust and thriving social media brand presence, you can interact with your audience in real time. Provide opportunities for your audience to ask questions, post reviews, make comments, and share their perspectives and, when they do communicate with you, be sure to respond promptly, enthusiastically, and empathetically.
This should include addressing complaints and concerns with respect, attentiveness, and a demonstrable commitment to making it right.
You should also encourage your audience to post photos and videos — and not only of content that relates to your company, brand, or products but of topics that provide insight into your customers’ lives.
You and your team should do the same. There is no better way, after all, to humanize your brand than by letting your audience see the people behind the scenes, the real people with lives not unlike their own.
The goal, in other words, is to cultivate a community, not just a customer base.
The goal of marketing may be to drive growth, propel profits, and capture and retain customers. But marketing is about more than metrics. It’s about people. This is why a people-first ethos is often essential in making real, enduring, and meaningful connections with your target audience.
Truly reaching your target audience in a digital marketing campaign includes using user behaviour analytics to understand your audience and what they do, designing content for accessibility and inclusivity, and building strong social media communities through engagement and interactivity.