The first phase of planning starts with a focus on the consumers or customers with whom you will interact through Digital Marketing. This differs from traditional planning in requiring much more emphasis on how customers interact with you as participant. From the start, you should also establish goals for your Digital Marketing. By the end of the first phase, you should be able to answer the key questions, “What are the key insights about my participant?” and “What are my main goals?”
Good marketing always begins with consumer or customer, and that’s where Digital Marketing planning begins too. We call it a Participant Print. Whether your Digital Marketing is intended to appeal to millions of consumers or a select business – to – business audience, you will need a clear understanding of the people at the other end.
Most marketers do some form of planning to define their target audience. You might fell this sufficient and wonder why a Participant Print is required. This isn’t a shallow semantic issue. There are deep implications inherent in the shift from targeting to the broader exercise of participant planning. You will need to anticipate how consumers will act as respondents, participants, and even initiators. Recognizing this from the start is a key mind shift required for successful Digital Marketing.
Participant Print 1: General Profile
The first section of the print includes basic information about your customers. This might include demographics, transactional behavior information (for example, purchasing patterns), and response rates to previous promotions and marketing activities. This will certainly be useful when it comes time to decide your Digital Marketing content, messaging, and activation strategies.
You should also have “lifestyle” data to help you understand the deeper psychographic aspects of your participant base. This vital since consumer attitudes and tendencies today do not follow lock-step with demographic data.
Participant own words are important too. How do participants talk about your product category and about your brand? What are actual words they use? This information will be vital later when you define your search marketing strategies (SEO and SEM).
While you will already know a fair amount about your consumers, writing your Participant Print affords you the opportunity to update and reassess your assumptions. You might collect data from prospective consumers or your competitors consumers, as well as from your existing consumers.
Participant Print 2: Digital Profile
Digital Usage Habits
The next position of your print will focus on your customers / prospects as users of digital media.
What digital channels do your customers currently use and in what proportion? What sites do they surf? What kind of digital devices do they own? Which do they use most often? Are there any digital trends among your participant group (for example, an increase in their desire to receive podcasts) that are particularly worthy of note? Any insights you can gain about your customer’s attitudes towards digital channels and content decisions. Digital usage habits can change rapidly so current data is critical.
Content Consumption Preference
As content becomes liberated from channels, understanding participants’ content preferences becomes essential. Participants loyalty will be to the content not to the delivery mechanism. If you haven’t done the important spade work to really know what content is likely to interest your participants, you run the risk of being ignored and overlooked when you go live with your digital marketing.
Consumer Content Creation Profile
The final area in the digital section of your Participant Print covers what your customers (or prospective customers) are creating at the moment. This should yield some important insights about participants as active creators. What type of contests do they participate in? What type of contests do they participate in? What photo sites do they upload pictures to? What kind of blogs do they create? Are they already engaged in blogs about your products category or your competitors brands – or your brands? In the planning process, you might consider contracting handful of top bloggers to see if you can gain any insights from them.
Participant Print 3: Individual Profiles
You will need to know all you can about individual customers. You may find this data in your existing customer database or through tracking customers current web activity. Of course, your profiling should include some segmentation. How you segment will depend upon the type of data you have on hand. Ideally, you will have consumer purchase data and share of wallet data, so you can identify high lifetime value customers.
The following are a number of broad areas that you might consider as you set goals. Of course, the specific metrics of the goals will need to reflect your particular situation and ambitions.
How to develop a Participant Print
A Participant Print, which is modeled upon Ogilvy & Mather’s Customer Print, is intended to capture the essence of the group of people who comprise your customers. The Participant Print should build upon any existing Customer Print or target audience definitions you have by adding information and insights about your customers in relation to digital channels. Your Participant Print should straddle both existing and new customers.