Consumers enjoy ultra-customized, hyper-specific and relatable content that reflects who they are.
But they also want more privacy and greater control of their information. They want mobile phone operating systems that empower them with choice, and most of all, they want a private, cookie-less future from publishers.
In short, consumers want to have their cake and eat it too.
This dichotomy between consumers’ need for privacy and their desire for personalized content presents a challenge to marketers and media. But for those trying to connect with segment consumers, this tension is heightened.
Until now, marketers have served up culturally relevant and personalized messages, done via targeting audiences that have been tagged in cookies as likely members of a segment group. With that option off the table, there’s increased pressure on marketers to change their approaches to connecting with segment audiences authentically.
What’s a segment marketer to do? Here are three ways to respond:
Ask consumers for the information they need
First-party data is something marketers have always said they wanted to focus on but had a difficult time executing, especially among multicultural consumers. It is one thing to ask someone about location or age range, but another to ask about ethnicity.
Publisher partnerships are one route to collecting this data, which can be guaranteed through those partner deals. Scale may be lost, but you will know exactly who you are talking to.
Another route is for marketers to build 1:1 relationships with their consumers and earn the trust that would merit the sharing of such personal information. This can come in the form of product registration or premium access for loyal customers.
Finally, the use of influencers and branded content is crucial to reaching multicultural audiences in a more personalized manner moving forward.
Consumers who perceive a benefit in giving brands one more piece of data in exchange for more personalized messaging will do so, but the value exchange for a multicultural consumer has a higher threshold. A brand’s commitment to their community is more important than ever.
Place media with more rigor
Contextually relevant content intended to engage diverse audiences will be paramount to any multicultural strategy.
The shift to a content-driven approach will help support current efforts to establish a more equitable digital ecosystem. Endemic multicultural publishers are no longer sidelined in direct-to-publisher RFP processes or relegated to programmatic desolation.
This new future provides endemic publishers, especially BIPOC-owned ones, the ability to scale. This was nearly unfeasible within a “total market+programmatic” approach. “No scale” became a euphemism for “too niche,” which handicapped endemics resulting in a lack of culturally relevant content.
An increased emphasis on content versus targeting will allow publishers to build more infrastructure, hire more journalists and deploy more in-depth community coverage—culminating in more meaningful content. Audiences that have been underserved will finally have options that reflect their realities, tastes and ambitions.
Lastly, marketers won’t have to rely on questionable multicultural targeting practices or verification methods. A cookie-less future will be a one-two punch in respecting diverse users on both privacy and content fronts.
Creative will need to be more relevant than ever
With content in the driver’s seat from a placement perspective and the ability to personalize at scale, the pressure is on to meaningfully connect. Casting has never been enough, and generic appeals meant to connect universally fall flat with segment consumers craving a real connection with brands that demonstrate a commitment to them and their communities.
Big data increasingly drives business decision-making, and primary data is undoubtedly an important piece of the puzzle, but the foundational research that has fallen out of favor recently will be crucial to unearthing cultural insights that can inform creativity.
Behavioral data alone will not help marketers to meaningfully connect. With a better understanding of segment consumers’ barriers, drivers and the proverbial “why behind the buy,” we can better deliver the messages that will persuade them.
But marketers cannot address these three imperatives alone.
To deliver on this consumer demand, deep partnerships are also needed between media, creative and CRM specialists—but not just anyone in those fields will suit. The most important partners in that mix will be with segment marketing experts that can deliver on the authenticity needed to form the trust and build the relationship multicultural consumers welcome.