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Tunnl | Products | Audiences

Data-Driven Audiences for Purpose-Driven Marketing: Who Needs It?

September 1st, 2021 | 8 min. read

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You’re in a Monday morning budget meeting. You’re nervous because you know you need to prove to your boss that the marketing budget increase you got was worth it. There is just one problem… you can’t.

This is where audiences come in. They are all about one thing: efficiency.

Data-driven audiences allow you to deliver more messages to those who matter the most, for the same budget - making you, and your boss, happy. No more dreading of your budget meetings.

At Tunnl, audiences are our jam. In fact, we’ve been pioneering this technology for over 20 years. Last year alone, our audiences helped clients save over $104,000,000 in efficiencies!

But, as much as we love our audience products, we recognize that they are not the best fit for everyone. By the end of this article, you will know the answer to the fundamental question: "Who needs audiences?"

How do data-targeted audiences help drive connection and efficiency?

Data-targeted audiences help companies connect with consumers who share the same brand values.

According to Edelman’s Earned Brand Study, 64% of consumers choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues. Audiences help brands and companies reach these consumers who make purchasing decisions based on societal stances.

Social and regulatory changes have plagued brands since the beginning of time. To combat these changes, brands must tell their stories in a way that people will be receptive to hearing them. This means telling many stories to many factions of consumers.

Audiences are how companies ensure those tailored stories are being seen by the right consumers.

Data-Driven Audiences Help Companies Focused On Purpose-Driven Marketing Or Issue Advocacy

Audiences help connect your brand’s purpose-driven and issue advocacy efforts with consumers who will help grow your company. 

Nothing is more frustrating than when you put all of your time and energy into something that doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to - especially when it comes to the execution of your marketing and advertising campaigns. 

Audiences are the tool that ensures your message is being heard by people who are receptive to it. In simple terms, audiences cut out the people who you shouldn’t be/or are not trying to communicate with.

Sure, there are “in-platform” targeting tools for audiences that can group people together based on demographics, but none of them group people together based on feelings about issues.

By utilizing this technology, brands, companies, and organizations can deliver more messages to the right audience without raising your budget.

Take a look at the success story behind this popular sportswear brand’s purpose-driven marketing efforts.

Audiences and Ideal Buyers: A Sportswear Company Case Study

Consumers want to buy from brands that share similar values as they do. A popular sportswear company took note… and it paid off.

Their purpose: Racial Justice

After being a household staple for years, the company wanted to find a new way to connect with its consumers and potential consumers. They took a look at the world around them and saw an opportunity for change. They decided to re-connect with their audience in a new way - not in their online shop, not in their storefronts, but in activism.

The sportswear giant understood you don’t need to play the activist yourself, but facilitate already existing activism. In 2016, their campaign for racial justice was born. Their ads did not advertise their product but instead left a message that consumers could identify with, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Their Purpose: Equal Opportunity

This brand’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Opportunity for all had been a driving force for the past two years behind the brand’s activism. In December of 2017, they released their first product behind that message – the first sportswear hijab by a major brand. This was not about just a product release for profit, it meant a whole group of people, who had been previously limited in sports participation, now had an increased opportunity to participate.

Their message resonated. The sportswear giant wasn’t giving off the message of “buy our new product.” Instead, they conveyed a message of empowerment and support - something their consumers could relate to regardless of whether they wore a hijab or not.

Their need: The ability to convey many messages to different audiences

In the 1980s, their company’s message revolved around how great their signature shoe was. Today, they have a different tone - one not based on product, but on purpose.

With many different purpose-driven messages, how do they continually connect back to their consumers? Easy, with audience segmentation.

Not everyone is going to care about or be motivated by every single one of their messages. But, when you break groups down by the social causes they care about, it becomes much easier to target a unique message to a specific audience.

For them, talking about their brand’s purpose instead of their products paid off - literally. Since their purpose-driven marketing efforts kicked off in 2016, the sportswear giant’s stock price has more than tripled.

Consumers want to buy purpose, not products. Audiences are that connection point between your purpose and your consumers. Audiences for purpose-driven marketing are powerful - this brand’s success story is just one example. 

Data-Driven Audiences Help Brands or Companies That Could Face Business Threats Because Of A Shift In Public Opinion Or Government Regulation

Shifts in public opinion and government regulations can have negative impacts on brands, advocacy groups, and even entire industries.

But, what can you do to navigate these shifting tides?

Audiences are a unique and powerful tool for organizations or brands in this group for two reasons:

  1. They measure individuals’ sentiment on issues
  2. They give you the ability to connect your message with them

The second part is key! You may already have polling or conducted focus groups on certain issues. That is great that you have an idea about how certain groups feel about issues but that leaves out a key part – the ability to connect with them.

It’s like the old saying, “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, did it really fall?”

Messages are only effective if they are put in front of the right group of people. Take a look at this example about the oil and gas industry.

Audiences to avoid business threats: An Oil & Gas case study

There is no industry more familiar with constant business threats due to shifts in public opinion and government regulation other than Oil & Gas companies.

How does their industry continue to thrive in a hyper-environmentally aware era? How do these companies push back against government officials and community activists who support anti-oil and gas regulations?

The big oil and gas companies know the value they provide to communities. How do they communicate their value with the masses? The answer is simple - audiences.

Audiences are a vital part of industries that are prone to major business changes. There is never a one-size-fits-all message that everyone wants to hear and will be receptive to.

Put yourself in the shoes of that major Oil & Gas company.

Everyone that you need to talk to falls into one of three buckets:

  1. People who support your industry
  2. People who are receptive, but do not feel strongly one way or the other
  3. People who oppose your industry

Bucket #1: People supportive of Oil & Gas companies

This audience loves the oil & gas industry. Even though this group already has a favorable opinion of your company, you need to maintain your positive image with them so you can maintain their support.

To do this, you want to share a message with them about:

  1. How much oil your company is producing
  2. How many new jobs you have created in the local community

But, if this is the only message you deliver, it may turn off those in bucket #2 and will definitely turn off those in bucket #3.

Audiences are a great way to solve this problem. They ensure that specific messages are going to those who would be most receptive to it. 

Bucket #2: People without strong opinions of Oil & Gas companies

This audience does not necessarily have a negative opinion of oil and gas, but they also don’t have a reason to love it. 

You need to deliver a message to this audience that paints a positive picture for them.

For example, you could target them with a message about:

  1. Your company’s corporate donations and government gas tax revenue go directly to the local school systems - allowing children from all backgrounds to flourish.

This message is specifically designed to cut through to those people in bucket #2 but would not be persuasive to those in either of the other buckets. Audiences help you ensure that this pro-gas, pro-school message is being seen only by those in bucket #2. 

Bucket #3: People who oppose Oil & Gas companies

This audience hates the oil & gas industry. They are anti-oil & gas because they see a clean climate as a human right. But, to avoid business threats, you still need to talk to this audience.

You want to tell your story by leaning into their belief about a clean climate being a human right.

The messages you convey to this audience point out:

  1. You are the largest supplier of clean energy despite being known as an oil and gas company.
  2. It is more environmentally friendly to source gas and oil from the United States than it is from war-torn nations across the globe that then has to be shipped over here. 

This audience will never love Oil and Gas companies. Yet, when presented with facts about green energy and the alternative to American energy the consumers in bucket #3 are much more likely to come to the table.

Their need: The ability to convey many messages to different audiences

Like the sportswear company example above, your oil & gas company has many messages it needs to share with very specific groups of people. This will help you to navigate shifts in public opinion and government regulation.

Audiences: A Tunnl Flagship

Audiences are an innovative solution to get your stories in front of the right audience, every time. They are a great fit for:

  • Companies focused on purpose-driven marketing or issue advocacy
  • Brands or companies that could face business threats because of a shift in public opinion or government regulation

At Tunnl, we have a rich, 20-year history of pioneering data intelligence technology that helps our clients identify, create, and connect with the audiences that matter the most.

That is why audiences are at the core of everything we do. But there is not just one type of audience product. Learn more about the different types of audiences here!

Audiences are just the beginning step! Our products such as Media Optimization and Paid & Earned Media Measurement all run on audiences.

Ready to keep learning? Check out the rest of our resources on audiences here!