The unreachables

It’s a rare meeting, pitch, or roadmap that doesn’t involve “reaching millennials”.

The term, coined in 1987, was meant to refer to people coming of age in the new millennium – originally those of us born circa 1982. Most sources still define millennials as born within a twenty-year period beginning in the early 80’s.

This may be a generation, but it’s completely useless as a media/marketing target.

The pace of change in media, content, entertainment, and the way marketing messages are delivered is far too fast to measure in generations. It’s not just that today’s sixteen-year-old and today’s thirty-six-year old grew up in completely different worlds. The way we experience, consume, and understand our world changes dramatically year over year.

So, in reality, “millennials” is totally meaningless. 

“Reaching millennials” is almost always code for one of two things: capturing youth culture (whole different deal) or reaching the unreachables. It’s the unreachables that have really changed the way we need to approach business.

Unreachables. We don’t watch TV. We don’t have cable or any push-only subscriptions. We don’t make appointments for media. We don’t have landlines. We’re often totally unwired. We don’t see print. We use adblockers. We “miss” other ads because we’ve already moved on from the target.

We know when we are being “branded at” and can, often do, choose to ignore it.

We make decisions by reaching out to a trusted group of sources that we personally curate, and we can reach these sources from anywhere at any time. 

We’re really hard to map as an attribution model or “customer journey” because there are so many places you can’t see us.

Unreachables don’t consume media in the way we are expected to; don’t sit through ads; absorb messaging in a different way, if at all; aren’t where you expect your audience to be after decades of traditional TV, print, radio, and traditional digital marketing.

Unreachables are the huge and growing audience whose lives don’t align with the plan you made last year, let alone the canonical wisdom you’ve built up over a decade or more.

This has nothing to do with millennials. You want the unreachables.

Tomorrow, November 9, at 2:30 PM CET, I’ll be leading a roundtable at Web Summit’s Marketing X on “How Do You Reach the Unreachable Audience?”. Come say hi if you’ll be in Lisbon. If you’re not, I’ll be sharing some of the group’s insight and comments post-conference. 

Proof “Know Me”

We took a very different direction on this introductory video for the Proof suite of software products. Proof is based on matching cookies and device IDs to a) a media campaign of any kind and b) Lucid’s huge pool of survey respondents. It reveals a picture of the audience that marketers have historically not been able to see.
I thought it would be interesting to work off the idea that we don’t know much about other people, and that as you get to know someone they gradually reveal small things about themselves that add up to a greater whole.

Let data inform your content

(Repost from 2014)

This is one of my big points in content strategy. Sometimes people think it’s a conflict with creativity.

Great data is as human as you are. It’s an intimate knowledge of your audience that allows you to tell a better story. Tell me you’re not funnier when you tell a joke to a friend – because you know what that person likes and dislikes.

 

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.

The network of you

You are media.

Everyone is media, because everyone is a storyteller.

The photo you shared, the joke you told, the meme you sent on its merry way – all stories from the network of you.

 

We are all telling stories, every day, and if you come at your brand understanding that, it can help you tell its story.

Grow your own: data fluency in your team

“You want to cultivate internal capability, not just hire it” – Michael Schrage in HBR on data fluency in a team.

You don’t want the “analytics person” to be the only one on the team who speaks the language.

Stop Searching for That Elusive Data Scientist

Programmatic

I’ve been asked to explain programmatic buying.

So….remember when you, or someone on your team, would review (hopefully on a daily basis at least) your digital ad performance, and re-allocate the buys immediately to optimize your spend? Requiring six calls to one or more agencies and probably a few arguments along the way.

Most tasks like this are better when machines do ’em.

Programmatic buying is part of marketing automation. Set your parameters and you can optimize in real time.

You’ll still be reviewing constantly, but you’ll be far more efficient, and you’ll learn a lot from the patterns that emerge.

 

The longer stick: social media marketing isn’t digital marketing

A third piece of this thought process here:

The same people who come to me asking about “digital marketing” without exception lump social media in there. In fact, many seem to think that social media is the sum total of digital marketing, or at least the most important part.

NO. No. No. Social isn’t digital at all. Social media is just technology enabling things people already like to do.

For a business or a brand, social media amplifies all the things you are already trying to get your customers to do: talk about you; solve any problems they may have with you; stay in interaction with your brand; share your offers, promotions, and content with others; remain loyal; recruit new customers.

If you can see social of all kinds as part of a natural continuum of the efforts you’re already making – if you can visualize using it the same way you’d use a longer broom to reach a far-away cobweb, or use a longer stick to fish something out of a puddle – you’ll find social media strategy and tactics much, much easier to implement.

The mobile chasm

Having been intensely steeped over the past year in advertising-based digital brand businesses, I have been walking two companies through this.

The mobile chasm is simply this:

Any native digital media brand (read: a company that began as a website or group of websites, and that sells advertising as its primary revenue stream) is now obviously faced with an audience move to the mobile platform. Audiences are rushing to consume content on mobile much more swiftly than advertisers are moving to BUY ads on mobile. (This isn’t “the Facebook mobile problem”, which is that Facebook’s mobile product is not ideally set-up as an ad vehicle; this is a problem for anyone with a well-trafficked web property whose users are moving to mobile.)

No matter how amazing your mobile offering (site or app) and your ability to offer mobile ad choices of many kinds – your audience is moving to this platform faster than your revenue.
How do you focus on mobile as a necessary priority while nurturing the old-school Interwebs place where people are still spending most of their digital media money?

And even more sleepless-night-creating: how do you handle the period soon to come when your users are hugely mobile and media buyers have still not quite caught on? A huge chunk of the media buying community is still busy moving dollars to online from other media. Mobile is barely a twinkle in their eye.

With luck, it’ll be a brief period, because advertisers do follow audiences, but there is going to be catch-up time.

Are you ready for the chasm?

 

Photo by Doug Brown. Creative Commons.

Why are you afraid to be creative?

Why are you afraid to be creative?

I hear from friends and colleagues all the time that they don’t feel supported in the world or in business as creative individuals.

Look around you. Creativity is exploding.

Tumblr is past SIXTEEN BILLION pageviews per month and growing. Tumblr is about nothing but creativity.

Instagram has eighty million users and over four billion photos shared.

DeviantArt has two and a half billion pageviews per month and is in or nearly in (depending on whom you go to for stats) the top 100 websites in the US. DeviantArt is definitively about sharing and accessing creative work.

Kickstarter is everywhere and is full of people supporting the highly creative passion projects of complete strangers.

Trust it. There’s something going on.

Audience?

Remember “the audience is listening”? No longer applicable.

If you define an audience as a group of people who are only, or even primarily, watching and/or listening, then there’s no such thing as an audience anymore.

Photo by Pieter Musterd. Creative Commons.