Marketing is an art of… guessing
The driving force for innovation is often deep dissatisfaction. We’ve spent almost two decades of our career watching terrible mistakes and inefficiencies by respected global marketers before we told ourselves: “Enough!” So, why do we think marketing as we know it is fundamentally broken?
For years, marketers have relied on their gut feelings to make strategic decisions. A few data points collected throughout the consumer’s journey left a whole universe of freedom for guessing what consumers needed, how they made their purchasing decisions, and whether advertising influenced these decisions and in what way. As John Wanamaker coined early in the 20th century, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.” As it turned out, John Wanamaker was an optimist. Throughout the last century, the share of wasted money has grown so much that there is little left to spend on the part that works.
Marketing gurus often ask whether marketing is an art or a science, and they always wind up with the same answer: it’s a combination of both. In plain language, it means that guessing is supported by some rough data that is insufficient to make an informed decision. We have seen multiple cases when marketing theories that were used as a rule of thumb for decades suddenly turned to be wrong after just a little more data was collected.
A good example is the Effective Frequency theory popularized by Herbert Krugman in late 1960s. This theory, which became widely used by marketers, claimed that a consumer should be exposed to an advertisement three times to achieve the desired effect. The first exposure, so the theory went, explains “what is it,” the second is “what of it,” and the third one is the “true reminder.” Marketing researchers spent 30 years looking for data to support these claims. In the end, the data wound up refuting the theory.
Another great concept brought to us in the “60s was Everett Rogers” theory of Diffusion of Innovations . A key element of the theory focuses on early adopters — people who are willing to explore new things. Early adopters are an ideal target for advertising. If early adopters, who are also opinion leaders, try your innovation and like it, they will spread the word to their many followers and the innovation will be adopted.
This brilliant concept is a part of any marketing course. However, as beautiful as it looks on the blackboard, this theory is hard to put into practice. Just identifying which person is an early adopter would require an extensive series of interviews. Finding communication channels that could pick out the early adopters from the general public turned out, in the vast majority of real cases, to be Mission Impossible.
PRECISION is our religion
Being marketing industry veterans, we founded Influ2 simply because we couldn’t tolerate imprecise and ineffective marketing decisions any longer. The purpose of Influ2 is to enable marketers to accurately target the most influential people who can make a life-changing business impact. Decision makers are your future customers, strategic partners, and investors.
Influ2 is based on recent advances in advertising technology and machine learning. Our product would have been impossible 10 years ago. Over the last decade, the Internet has become an integral part of our lives, with many of our transactions happening online. Now, almost every step a customer makes leaves a digital footprint: whether work, shopping, or entertainment. Every one of these footprints is a data point on the personal level. These data points are essential to pick out the 0.01% of decision makers within the broad Internet population.
Advanced machine learning is the second essential element of Influ2 and the core of our technology. We’ve spent more than a decade building behavioral models of TV viewers and later internet users to build precisely targeted campaigns. With recent developments in machine learning, we can now accurately spot the target audience — sometimes down to a particular individual.
Native formats enable advertising to become ubiquitous throughout the consumer’s journey. Now we can go beyond traditional banners on media sites, and talk directly to consumers almost anywhere via programmatic advertising. There is nothing new in nudging customers through social networks. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram offered comprehensive solutions as soon as they passed audience growth saturation points. But now, even e-commerce players are transformed into communication channels; the recent introduction of advertising solutions by Amazon is a good example.
Influ2 leverages these elements to surround decision makers with your idea, make them feel everybody is talking about it, and ignite their curiosity to find out more about your company or product. With minimal investment, your idea will be discussed everywhere. Customers, investors, journalists, analysts — everybody will want to talk to you. This is how we define precise and effective marketing.