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The hidden opportunity for 3 times more effective customer profiling


DATE: 09 July, 2019

Strategy is often a missing piece in digital media campaigns or in the related digital experiences such as website copy and design, or the social media page set up.

At the heart of good strategy is an understanding of who the real customer is and not just following an existing set of demographics on auto-pilot. If we get the strategy right then the performance at every step along the way is maximised.

Let’s explore how we can learn from a strategic shift that was 300% more accurate at targeting the potential customer for Tourism Australia.

If we can get closer to the real customer then the performance of the digital media spend will be optimised, and once they’re on your assets such as the website or the social media pages it will improve conversion rates too.

To reach your best potential audience it may be by putting aside everything you thought you knew about your customer profiles.

By understanding who the real customer is we also remove unconscious bias. We no longer look to past data which may have been captured with bias behind it, making it misleading now. Past data does not always equal the future. It is highly possible the best performing opportunity may be a new place that you are yet to have data to prove. Split testing and doing your own research will uncover this.

The potential customer may not be anything like who you have been attracting in the past and sticking to those results may limit you. The past customer came to you based on the combined experience of the creative they see, the channels they are exposed to and the way they are treated throughout the operational and sales process. Most of all they came to you because that’s who you targeted but is it the best potential? Unlikely.

A great place to start is to stop measuring your audience by age demographics and moving to attitudinal segmentation.

One of the most successful digital campaigns of all time must be the Australian Tourism ‘Crocodile Dundee’ campaign. The creative formed around a fake new Crocodile Dundee movie release is genius of course, but the digital campaign behind this was filled with strategic insights that drove the channel selections, the creative and also the customer experience end to end.

The key to this campaign’s success was moving away from thinking about the customer in terms of the old demographics.

Lisa Ronson, CMO of Tourism Australia, shared this incredible campaign at the last ADMA Global Summit and revealed the shift in strategic thinking at the core of the campaign’s success (and is shared here with permission).

Past demographic profiling identified the past Tourism customer as follows:

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 35
  • Status: Single, no kids
  • Income: $100K
  • Place of residence: London, UK

Imagine for a moment that there were two women, side by side. Both fit this exact profile, only one spends all her spare cash on making her home look just so, she enjoys being a homebody and travels very rarely.

The other woman, however, is an adventure traveller and aims to travel every year to somewhere new and interesting. If you invested your media spend to target by demographics alone then half your budget could be wasted across both women.

Tourism Australia did extensive research to find out who their customer was beyond this demographic and what aspects of travelling in Australia were appealing to them. For example, Aquatic and Coastal locations, Food and Wine, and Nature and Wildlife (Australia’s ideal product line, if you will).  They found there were people all over the world who valued adventure travel but a real opportunity in the USA.  Age, income, and family status had nothing to do with it.

This new strategic thinking then opened up an entirely new audience that was both highly targeted with the most potential to travel to Australia, and at the same time opened up to a much wider audience across all ages, family type and income levels. This impacted the results to achieve an all-time success for Australian Tourism with 400% increase in US sales YOY.

Yes, the Superbowl airtime was a big part of this campaign’s success driving over 1 billion YouTube views, which is over three times larger than the Superbowl audience. 38% of discussion about the campaign running on the Superbowl superseded discussion about the Superbowl itself at 32%.

Here’s the, now famous, fake trailer in case you missed it:

Publicity around the campaign attracted over $85M AUD equivalent to advertising value, over 900 million total reach on social media, a record ten times uplift organic lead conversion rate, and air demand through travel partners increased between 20% to 40% at key international gateways.

So, by getting past the old demographic profiling this was the start of one of the most successful campaigns, not just for Tourism Australia but for the Australian marketing industry.

Of course this campaign wasn’t just about the marketing activity, as a smart partnership model was established with other organisations such as airlines, travel companies and media companies, but certainly, their robust identification of their potential customer surely had to instil confidence to get everyone behind it. A big budget certainly helped too, but at least every dollar was aligned with a highly targeted customer and therefore little wastage.

Every brand can learn from this marketing approach – rethink demographics and get to the attitudinal psychographic profile instead. You’ll also be removing unconscious bias and stop the process of defining people by age and gender unnecessarily.

This blog post was originally published on our partner site, Firebrand.