You’ve heard it before: to be successful with your advertising, you must know the interests and behaviors of your audience inside and out. Whether that’s knowing their personal attributes, hobbies and passions, or likes and dislikes, how they spend is one of the most important measures of their actual behavior, and an indicator of future buying intent. This is why creating spend-based personas is a burgeoning trend in our industry.
Spend-based personas focus on who the buyer is as a person and how they behave across categories, rather than just focusing on one specific item or service they may purchase.
For example, if you are trying to reach avid runners, you may want to target people who spend money on marathon entry fees or gym memberships, indicating that they would be interested in running shoes. Another common persona is a business professional—someone who spends a lot on weekday travel or public transportation, and makes frequent transactions during lunchtime at restaurants in major cities. It’s all about thinking of these people across all aspects of their lives, and not across one category.
At RampUp on the Road New York, I spoke with Justine Landschulz, a marketer at a leading CPG company, about how her team creates spend-based personas to acquire and retain customers. Justine shared that her team has different approaches to each stage of the buying journey and each stage has their respective goals predicated on the audience.
Here are the three main takeaways from our fireside chat:
1. Validating the quality of the data sources is key to finding partners that are closest to the source of truth.
Justine mentioned that while her team uses a full-funnel approach to their audience strategy, they use specific in-store audiences at select retailers to find their converting shoppers. They leverage their in-house strategy and analytics team to inform a broader data strategy that will truly impact the bottom line of the business. At both a strategic and tactical level, the team relies on high-quality data.
“ROI decisions are based on data and targeting is driven by data. The importance of clear, high-quality data is of enormous value for our company. Without accurate and high-quality data, the team would be unable to execute strategy and explore new tactics,” Justine shared.
From my perspective, it appeared as though it wasn’t only the data quality that was important, but also everything that branches off from it. Much like data, it isn’t enough to simply buy inventory or data if the quality isn’t there, as it won’t deliver the desired results.
2. Past purchases are the best indicators of future buying intent.
Looking to the future, I asked Justine’s take regarding store penetration and new product launches, and how that impacts her brand’s business. She responded that purchase data was used to form spend-based personas for a large national campaign designed to drive product trials with new audience segments.
“This could only be accomplished by working creatively to develop persona profiles based on purchase data to experiment with tactics and drive adoption,” she said. “With a product that [everyone buys], it’s vital to have a better understanding of what that buyer’s persona is or what their outside behaviors are to help drive greater acquisition, new acquisition, and more.”
3. Integrating offline in-store transactions through measurement is essential to properly inform marketing activations and optimizations.
To gauge success, Justine mentioned that they are starting to use partners’ products to measure the sales that result from her company’s digital campaigns. This move to match offline actions with online activity is where most marketers are heading in order to more accurately determine ROI and business impact.
It is clear that the use of data is playing an integral role for Justine as well as marketers across industries. As the market evolves, so too must the data providers that serve them, to better align with their customers’ behavior and preferences.
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