The Importance of Targeted Marketing

by Jim Nathan
VP of Marketing
Travel Leaders Group

Direct marketing is the polar opposite of advertising during the Super Bowl. During the Super Bowl, most of the one hundred million people who hear your message will ignore it. It’s costly to cast such a large net when your target audience represents only a few fish.

Direct marketing, on the other hand, improves your aim drastically, making it easier to catch new business with a much smaller, and less expensive, net.

Simply put, direct marketing is the most cost-effective strategy for reaching a desired audience. It’s been proven to communicate the messages that resonate most with discrete consumer segments by creating compelling and differentiated offers that speak specifically to the target market.

There are many factors that drive direct marketing success, such as the creative way you present the offer, and the format used to send your message. But by far, the two most important factors are the offer you send out, and the audience who receives. And while many people believe that the offer is the true king, I personally believe that the audience—or more importantly, knowing your audience—is more predictive of success.

Knowing your audience—their location, their personal preferences, their past purchasing history—gives you the upper hand every time. Which is why at Travel Leaders, we segment the millions of names we have in our marketing database in several ways.

  1. Travel History:  Past purchasing history is by far the most robust predictor of future purchases. By analyzing the past purchase history of the millions of consumers in our database, we know who frequents specific cruise lines, hotel partners and airlines. We use this detailed analysis to zero in on consumers who are most likely to purchase. This allows us to send more touches to each household for the same cost, resulting in dramatically greater results.
  2. Geo-Targeting: By knowing where our consumers live, we know what areas of the country they are most likely to purchase hotels, cruises, air travel, and more. This helps us target New York consumers, for example, with the most popular hotels and cruise itineraries in New York, rather than send them offers from suppliers who perform better in Florida or California.
  3. Lifestyle: Do you prefer touring vineyards or the beach? Do you enjoy theater in the big city or horseback riding in the country? The psychographic information we possess on the consumers in our database provides us with detailed snapshots of their lifestyles and personal interests. We use this information to tailor our offerings to their lifestyle, which generates more positive results.
  4. Demographics: Do you want to target the 65+ set who have disposable incomes? Or does your product appeal more to families with young children? By using proprietary demographic information, we can target consumers based on age, income, children, and even how much they usually spend on vacation.

What does it all boil down to? The more you know about your audience, the better your marketing results will be. I advise anyone with a customer database to segment it into customer profiles and develop a range of products or service offers that match the needs of these different profiles.