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Take persona targeting to the next level

Take persona targeting to the next level Amish Tolia

One challenge marketers often face is breaking through the noise in competitive marketing channels. Social media advertising, email blasts, remarketing ads, television ads and others often reach large audiences, which is a plus for brand recognition. However, consumers see dozens of these marketing efforts each day and in many cases, they fail to resonate with the specific target audience who is most likely to convert. Instead, brands need to go after the right consumer identities to take persona targeting to the next level.

Social channels are recognizing the need for brands to target these consumer identities accurately and are rolling out advertising features to help marketers take advantage of the insight they gather from user profiles. For example, Facebook's advertising platform now has "Advanced Combinations" interest targeting, which enables brands to have more control over selected interests and build out social media advertisements that are specific to their highest converting and engaged audience. Twitter is another example with its recently launched "Personas" tool, which helps advertisers better reach their target audiences in the digital realm.

While social networks are rolling out new tools to improve persona targeting, brands are looking for more ways to narrow their marketing focus in order to increase conversions and engagement with their target audience. There are a number of ways brands can take persona targeting to the next level to ensure they're breaking through the clutter and reaching their top targets.

Refine your target audience

Brands that can identify their ideal customers and market to their specific desire and needs are going to see the highest conversions. If, for example, a food brand has traditionally targeted women ages 30-50 (simply because they tend to make the food purchasing decisions for their families), the brand probably wants to cater messages to this audience based on the choices they are faced with in the grocery store every day.

One brand who has successfully done so is Ritz Bits. The snack brand moved beyond targeting the demographic outlined above to target soccer moms specifically by targeting local youth soccer teams through sponsorship. While such a hyper-targeted strategy might seem too focused for a large, well-known snack brand, it enabled Ritz Bits to fully understand and build reciprocal relationships with a specific, but growing, influential target audience, rather than marketing to the wider demographic.

Get involved on a local level at a national scale

Once a brand has identified a subset of its target audience, as Ritz Bits did, marketers should get involved in the communities their audience is a part of to reach this more focused segment. Whether it's a nonprofit, sports group, school club or other organization, getting involved at a local level enables brands to penetrate a given market, spread brand awareness, and build relationships with your target audience. It is no secret that as funding declines for sports and community groups, the costs associated with their activities have risen, whether it is for team gear, travel or equipment, and brands getting involved at the local level can influence purchasing decisions through a marketing channel that matters.

Grassroots marketing can take persona targeting to the next level by reaching the specific target audience a brand is interested in on a personal level. While such efforts may seem small and almost too targeted at first, successful grassroots campaigns can easily be replicated market-by-market.

Amish Tolia is chief of strategy at Pear.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

Amish Tolia is co-founder and chief of strategy at Pear, a company which enables brands to build meaningful connections with community groups at scale.

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