16522941831_06d78a6d5b_mConsumers expect brands to listen, understand and act. Marketers are expected to uncover genuine insights and create truly personalized, relevant and memorable experiences to satisfy the end user. We recognize this era of marketing as The Age of You. But how can brands live up to these expectations?

This two part series will help you understand how to collect and apply valuable audience insights and consumer behavior data that will drive your strategy’s success and how a highly customized content piece will win over your audience and increase revenue.

To thrive in the current era of marketing, we first have to understand how we got here:

4 Stages of Branding

  • The Age of Identity
    • Market positioning identifier
    • Set your business and individual products apart from the crowd
    • The need to be different
  • Age of Value
    • Valuable business assets
    • Language changing from cost to value
    • The need to show value
  • Age of Experience
    • Deliver satisfying and differentiated experiences
    • Interactions are seamless, contextually relevant and increasingly based around creating an ecosystem of integrated products, services, information, and entertainment: both physical and digital.
    • The need to create advocacy, influence, and engagement
  • Age of You
    • Connecting businesses to people – and people to each other – brands serve as enablers of both business and personal value creation
    • Recognize the human in the data, uncover genuine insights, and create truly personalized and curated experience to satisfy the “Mecosystem”
    • The need to understand the consumer and create a personalized experience

The Problem

The problem is that your brand lens is only a tiny fraction of your audience. If we really want to understand the consumer, then we have to take a deeper look:

  • What kind of music do they listen to?
  • What type of clothing do they prefer?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • Where do they want to travel?
  • What is their favorite food?
  • How do they feel about certain brands?
  • Are they married or single? Have kids?

The good news is that technology allows us to personalize online interactions, adding new opportunities for brands to relate with their customers and find creative ways to connect people to products in an authentic way. I have a post-it note on my desk that serves as a reminder: “Focusing on interactions instead of transactions,” which was inspired by IBM’s article, From Insights to Action to Results:

“Customer interactions with a brand become more holistic – less transactional, more

focused on creating an experience where customers interact with each other and

information – essentially building an environment where they want to buy.”

Success will belong to marketers who understand their audiences on every level and focus their efforts on data-driven personalization.

Audience Insights >  $1,167,746 in Revenue & 9,655% ROI

It may sound kind of mystical, being able to know what the whole world is thinking about on any topic, at any time. But with today’s technology, it’s possible. Let’s briefly go over an application of how this audience insight could be used in a marketing campaign to create an effective, highly engaging campaign.

A brief background on this case study: the company is called Zenni Optical, they sell eye glasses online. Their goal is to increase revenue through online sales. We created a custom SEO/Content Marketing strategy to increase brand awareness, organic traffic and rankings and increase the quality of links going back to their website. Below is a snapshot from Zenni’s new landing page called The Hottest Trends.



 The strategy here is to create a piece of content that will organically drive traffic to this page on Zenni’s site. This content should focus more on the interaction than the transaction, helping to build that environment where the consumer wants to buy. Based on Zenni’s goals we decide that a personalized quiz founded in consumer behavior data is the best way to holistically guide the customer through their decision journey by answering the question: Which frames are perfect for me?


Research is the most important, foundational piece of this campaign. While the quiz might look like a simple 9-question survey, it is built around data collected from tools such as Netbase, Google Analytics, eMarketer, Neilson, Forrester and comScore in order to identify and apply customer motivation and shopper behavior.

From the intersection of these insights, we can then define our niche target audience – their wants, needs, lifestyles, triggers and inspiration moments. In this case, we need 8 different possible scenarios since we have 8 types of glasses: we have the Vintage Look, Cat-Eye, Browline, Eye Candy, Keyhole Bridge, Foe Wood, Aviator and Wayfarer. We now need to match a persona to each output of the quiz.

This type of interactive content helps connect people to products for a more personalized, relevant experience. When the user reaches the end of the quiz, an optional newsletter sign up form to “keep up with fashion deals & trends ” was presented. In just a few months, almost 30,000 people entered their email address, building a subscription-based audience that will now receive future Zenni-related news, deals and updates. When done right, it feels like the entire experience with the brand and the individual products was made for you.

Stay tuned for my next post, sharing what to look for in audience data and the potential it offers.

Image from Ashraf Siddiqui

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