By Christopher Skinner
I came across this phrase in a Bloomberg article last week and it's stuck with me - "Egocentric bias". The article used it to explain why people give other people gifts they don't like. But it keeps popping back into my head for another reason.
As brands or marketers, we often make mistakes about the customer. We assume things about them, and these assumptions come from our own view of the world. We like electronics and recipes so our customer must be interested in those things too - let's advertise on CNet and MarthaStewart. Or we stereotype based on our own singular experiences.
This is what makes diligent Customer Insight so critical. Taking the time to understand your existing or aspirational customer. Where do they live? Do they have families? Are they into sports or cars or horses? When we do this, we better able to target them through media they might actually enjoy - in places where they might actually be.
I am surprised by how frequently I am surprised by what I find - which is to say, how different people are from myself.
By Christopher Skinner
Google has an opportunity for a significant added revenue stream if they would allow advertisers to buy a broader range of search terms (and text ads) that currently are prevented by their strict 'quality score'. The Score favors direct response media only, preventing advertisers from employing earlier Awareness media.
Here's what I mean: say you're trying to sell boats. You're bidding on all the right boating and brand keywords, you've got display on all the boating-related content, etc. But you sense that you're only reaching customers who are actively looking to buy a boat, a relatively small percentage of the population.
But what about that larger group of people who can afford to buy boats? Who enjoy outdoor activity? How can you reach them?
If you go through Google, you can target this audience in Display somewhat easily - you can choose interest categories and websites that cater to certain target demographics.
But what about Search? How do you reach them during this more active, incredibly ubiquitous activity?
You do this by understanding the customer -their interests and likely life-stages- and then intercepting (or just talking to them) while they do these other things. Things totally unrelated to your product. Say their researching luxury vacation destinations? Speak to them then "Take a vacation whenever you want on your own luxury Yacht".
The trouble is, you can't really buy terms like "luxury vacation" without getting slapped with a poor quality score which eventually can jeopardize an entire account. Luckily, we've managed to find a work-around to this that at least allows us to address this early Awareness phase in limited environments.
But wouldn't it be better to have a solution built into Google?
I understand that we don't want to clutter the space with a lot of advertising completely unrelated to a user's search, but there must be a way to balance direct response search results with related search results - things users might also be interested in, right? This would satisfy media quality standards and profitability - not to mention allow advertisers to reach a much broader market.
So it seems to me that if Google really wants to grow-- ALOT -- they'll allow advertisers to reach out more into early Awareness phases, to speak to customers whose search behaviors may indicate a current or future interest in their products. I'd hate to see them become the direct mail of the online world, instead they can build brands and their revenue. It's good for everyone - consumers, advertisers and Google.
By Christopher Skinner
On a recent trip to Helsinki (in town speaking for Google Engage for Agencies) I had the happy opportunity to meet up with Toni Keskinen, an expert in the Customer Journey. He will soon release a book on the topic and I encourage all of you to read it.
We had an excellent conversation on how Customer Journey KPIs are being used in Finland.
As both Toni and I see it, you have to measure the effects of media at each stage of the Customer Journey. This means many secondary KPIs at each stage – how is conversion form Early Awareness to Consideration phase media? How is Brand search affected by Consideration media? How is overall customer flow - and overall profitability - bolstered by a complete campaign, one that addresses each stage?
Toni uses methods for sifting through Big Data to understand the flow of customer actions - how do customers behave in response to marketing and products? How can this understanding help the organization adapt and evolve? Our work comes together through the framework of the Customer Journey.
We also talked about the importance of breaking down data silos within the organization, to facilitate the cross-sharing of knowledge and information - and eliminate 'blind spots'.
Read more about Toni's thoughts on the Customer Journey here and here.