Friday, May 13, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: Resonate Networks identifies target customers based upon their values and attitudes

It's absolutely amazing the amount and type of data sources now in use or in development for targeting. One of the most interesting data sets I've heard about is information on consumer values, an area pioneered by Resonate Networks.

Resonate combines information on values and attitudes with more conventional data sets to more precisely target users. Over the course of an engagement, the network is refining audience criteria to more precisely identify attitudes that correlate to a brand's specific KPIs.

So what are these unique targeting criteria?

Engagement on particular issues

These sorts of info are combined with media habits and geographic indicators to build audience profiles. Then Resonate buys media matching those characteristics direct from pubs, and delivers your ads.

Let's start with the "gimme" use cases. Political candidates, issues advertisers, political parties. Duh. It won't surprise you to learn that they have offices in Reston VA and DC. But its relevance is much broader than that. Brands can connect with users that share their company values, like interest in "green" or child nutrition, or nature/environment. Now let's go broader still. Brands highly interested in influencers can identify ideal prospects based upon their level of engagement on particular topics and issues. Hence the office in New York.

From there, let's talk about more precision messaging. By understanding the SEGMENTS of an audience, you can deliver more precise messages that connect with user groups emotionally. That segmentation could be in the form of design elements, copy, offers, you name it.

As examples, they offer these three profiles to hint at the breadth and depth of consumer insight they can provide:

Consumers who buy brands/products that demonstrate their personal success, are aesthetically appealing & make them feel rewarded

Mothers with children under 16 who support menu labeling & believe childhood obesity is a serious societal issue that brands need to help fix

Influentials who regularly read the WSJ & frequently watch CNN or Fox News, & oppose increasing taxes

Now some of these dimensions might not seem relevant to your brand. But by understanding whether a consumer cares about climate change, you could deliver a messaging featuring a Prius versus an Escalade. By understanding the individual's desire for prestige, you could serve up a BMW versus a Volvo ad. By understanding a Moms' level of involvement with child nutrition, you could choose between delivering an ad for Corn Pops versus Honey Bunches.

Let's play a game. I want you to imagine two people. One an Obama Democrat. The other a Palin Republican. Which do you think would be a better prospect for:

Cheese Doodles
Plantain Chips
Snow Shoes
Old Spice
Countess Mara Ties

We could spend days agreeing or disagreeing on these. And I'm not saying that these items appeal EXCLUSIVELY to one of these groups. But we deal in numbers of a fraction of a percent, and on that level, even a small skew can mean big profit.

The point is that attitudes and beliefs are the rational and emotional underpinning for how we see the world. And we reflect how we see the world in what we buy.

And this isn't all politics. There's more to it than that, as we discussed earlier.

Some of these connections are going to be less black and white than others, So Resonate says it takes a more consultative versus transactional approach to client engagements. They know data relationships better than we do, or can develop a testing plan to unearth the relationships between your brands and consumer attitudes.

Will it make a difference for your brand? No idea. But it may well make a difference for some brands. And as we look for new data sets with which to target, this is certainly an interesting one. Certainly not the same old thing with a different logo slapped on it.

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first!

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