Profiling is seen as a very ugly word and activity. I agree with that in the vast majority of contexts. But profiling in marketing is not only necessary, it is required. I see marketing profiling as the foundational skill critical for marketing success. I am beginning to read that Internet marketing pundits are putting less and less emphasis on it, and that concerns me.
When executives think about marketing, their first thought is return on investment. Most executives fear the spray and pray marketing approach. They view it the same as flushing money down the toilet. If you present a marketing campaign to an executive with a specific target customer and tactics tied specifically to finding and engaging that customer, you control those fears. And that action is profiling.
If Internet marketing professionals begin to walk away from the discipline of profiling, they will lose a very powerful budget justification tool, one that executives have come to understand and respect. I also feel they will be taking a step back in time, just about ten years. This was the time of eyeballs and dot coms. The “build it and they will come” mentality. I don’t see a second bubble burst but I do see the possibility of diminished value and negative executive impressions, which could stunt Internet and electronic marketing growth for in the long run.
Yes, I said it. In the face of rapid growth and adoption rates, we are now seeing predictions which have Internet marketing spending growing more than 15% annually for in the foreseeable future. Again, reminds me of 1998, 1999 and 2000. This type of excitement is fantastic, but it has to be built on stable, fundamental marketing principle, and I believe that fundamental principle is marketing profiling.
The simple example of this can be shown by going through the mindset you have when building out a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign. This campaign should center on keywords. So the key (no pun intended) is where do those keywords originate from? The keywords you build should be based on the profile you are going after. You must first define the profile: Who is the model customer you want to see your ad? Once you have that model, you need to research their searching habits using tools available, and you need to think through what they search for based on their habits. Then you test, test, test. Review your initial tests and build derivative keywords based on what is working. Then test, test, test again. The foundation is in the profile you select; success comes through testing and adjusting, which is powerful and easy with PPC.
Another example of this is shown in how you plan and execute your blog and tweet strategy. I have seen way too many random tweeting strategies and excitement about the fact they are tweeting. Your tweeting should be based on the profile of people you are tweeting. If you are tweeting to customers, do they really want to know you are having a Christmas party? The brand folks may say yes, but I say if you cannot provide relevant content, don’t send anything. That is a big word in Internet and electronic marketing these days, “relevant content.” To me relevant content is a normal outcome if you have done your profiling homework. I am writing this entry for our ASPE-ROI blog. I also write for our ASPE-SDLC and ASPE-IT blogs. I have written this blog with a very specific profile in mind. That profile is marketing managers with a strong traditional background looking to start or improve their Internet and electronic marketing. To me this profile fits perfectly for the type of customers we are communicating with using the ASPE-ROI website. Even though this post is content, and content is “King” in Internet marketing, it makes no sense to post in on the ASPE-SDLC or ASPE-IT blogs. The content for ASPE-ROI is almost irrelevant to the profile for the other two blogs.
I believe that traditional marketing professionals have the opportunity to be very successful using the Internet and electronic marketing channel because of the foundation these professionals have in profiling. If you take that foundation and examine each channel available to you in the Internet marketing sphere, you can gain some powerful results. Make sure your PPC activity is based on a solid profile and each profile has model keywords. You may need multiple campaigns for multiple profiles you go after. Make sure you have a specific content strategy for your tweets and you are tweeting with relevant content based on the profile of the universe following you. Finally, just because content is easy to post doesn’t mean it should be posted on a blog. You may need to add more than one blog if you see different profiles consuming different types of content. In general, if you use your profile as a base for your messaging, you need to select and dissect your Internet and electronic marketing channels based on that profile. If you do this you will provide relevant content, and you will be successful in Internet and electronic marketing.