People-based marketing refers to the ability to deliver targeted ads and messages to individuals across any screen, on any device. Facebook was first to use the term “people-based marketing” when it launched its people-based solution, Custom Audiences. The new tactic allowed marketers to target campaigns to individual Facebook users using their interests, characteristics and affinities — everything except their real names.
Digital marketing had gained a somewhat deserved reputation for reducing people to numbers, segments and vaguely defined profiles. Marketers spent their budget on impressions without really knowing if they were making “an impression.”
With consumers rapidly shifting away from television and desktop computers to mobile devices and multiple platforms, the cookie-based tracking methods advertisers used for years weren’t working as work well across web and mobile devices. Facebook billed people-based marketing as a “must-have” answer for businesses. Almost three years later, people-based marketing has gone mainstream.
According to Danielle Lee, Global VP, Partner Solutions at Spotify, “People-based marketing represents an industry shift from targeting devices to connecting with the right people at the right time, with the right message. Rather than targeting ads to devices based on cookies, which is fraught with inadequacies, marketers can now reach people across the many devices they use, thanks to persistent identity.”
Marketers have traditionally relied on third-party data picked up by cookies and tracking pixels as we explore the web. Marketers use these bits and pieces — our preferences, habits, and identities — to form an incomplete approximation of consumers. Although digital marketers have made great strides interpreting these fragments, they still don’t add up to a whole person. People-based marketing goes at all this in a different way.
Where people-based marketing data comes from
People-based marketing relies on what’s called “first-party data”. The most prominent sources of first party data are the logins popularized by Facebook and Google. Over time these login identities have become even more valuable as apps, sites, services and tools offer users the opportunity to login through their social and email profiles. These logged-in encounters offer marketers more sources of first-party data on consumers’ habits and behaviors across the web.
Many brands have been collecting verified first-party information on consumers for research or customer service purposes for years. Stored in customer relationship management databases, there can be a cache of information including customer contact info, as well as known product and service preferences. This data can be repurposed to fuel people-based marketing campaigns targeting existing customers. This also allows marketing teams to tailor specific messages to audiences composed only of likely consumers.
If you don’t have data, buy it!
As people-based marketing has taken off, there’s an emerging class of data marketers selling these data packages to brands as the seeds from which brand marketers can populate an audience for people-based campaigns and grow a healthy audience of their own.
“With people-based marketing, you have greater assurance that your message is reaching your known customer and driving measurable results. Even better, we’re beginning to see measurement of both the online and offline impact of these ads, explained Lee.”
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