Customer acquisition campaigns are always widely talked about — but if you’re struggling to implement data-driven strategies into your campaign, it’s easier than you think. Creating a full marketing plan involves many factors, but the time invested in doing market research and planning, scheduling, and ensuring all messaging is consistent across all channels is well worth it in the end. When it comes to generating the highest response rates and most competitive CPA’s (cost per acquisition),  a data-based marketing plan is the best way to create an effective, cost-efficient campaign. 

In this three part series, we’ll walk through the basics to lay a strong foundation for your marketing plan, whether you’re in the business to business or consumer sphere. As with most campaigns, you’ll always want to start with your market and audience research. How are you determining who you’re marketing to, and why? This is the most essential building block for an effective and strategic campaign. Once you’ve pinned down your segmentation and targeting research, then it’s time to move on to messaging and marketing channels, and finally, no campaign’s impact can ever be successfully measured without setting benchmarks for goals, targets, and analysis

The first step to partnering your marketing with data-based decisions for the best results? Knowing your audience. 

Understand the underlying factors that drive campaign performance

Audience: The prospects most likely to need, value, and buy your service or product

The first step in any marketing campaign — but especially in an acquisition campaign, should be identifying your target audience and what segment of the population you’re going to market to. This shouldn’t be based simply on your opinion of who you think would find your product valuable, but based on research and data. A good start is to brainstorm with your team what you think your audience looks like, otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll waste resources and miss your goals. Your audience should then drive your messaging, strategy, and and channel of marketing. Here’s how to define your buyer persona:

Create a strong buyer persona through market research, as well as insights from your current customer base. Ideally, you should consider partnering the insight process with strong data analytics. By combing through your customer base and profiles, statistical similarities will begin to emerge and shape trends and influences that you may not even be able to recognize on a small-picture level. Ideal prospects will look the most like your most successful current clients — who may have similar incomes, geography, and behaviors and attributes. Once these trends and commonalities have been identified, consider using a predictive data model in order to find new prospects who fit your profile of a successful client. 

Use your lead-generation forms to collect data to identify similarities between interested and active prospects. If you’re in the B2B sphere, consider adding company size to your lead forms on your website. If you’re in the retail space, consider sending a follow up email to those who sign up for offers and sales with a survey offering a small discount in return for filling out a survey that may include questions about their age, profession, or interests to develop more customer data and refine your marketing, targeting, and messaging. 

Conduct research that allows you to create a usable and practical overview to keep your marketing strategies aligned and on-point. You’ll want to interview not only your customer base, but also non-persona’s; i.e. people who don’t use your products. This enables you to generate valuable feedback about problem areas that may need to be addressed to capture a larger portion of the population as customers. Some basic questions to try to answer about your ideal audience (please keep in mind that you should be selective in these questions, depending on whether you’re in the business to business or consumer sphere) include: 

  • Business to Business
    • What is the size of your company?
    • What industry are you in?
    • What are your top three workplace priorities?
    • What are your biggest challenges in the workplace?
    • What publications/blogs/media do you read or watch for industry trends and information?
    • What associations/public networks do you participate in?
    • How do you prefer to interact with vendors – phone, email, text, etc.
  • Consumer
    • What is your education level?
    • How do you research a new service or product you want to try- online reviews, friends/family, store associates?
    • What social networks do you use and which are the most influential in your purchasing decisions?
    • Personal demographics – age, marital status, if they have a child, interests, etc. 
    • What publications/blogs do you read? 
    • What kind of offers or promotions make you interested in checking out a store or service provider?
    • What brought you to our website/store/etc?
    • What are the challenges that our products/services solve for you?
  • Non-Persona
    • Why don’t you use our product/service (what obstacles does it not solve for you; what roadblocks have you faced previously with us)
    • What could we change that might persuade you to give our product/service a try?
    • What are the challenges you face with similar products/services?
    • What are the benefits of using a similar product/service that is not ours — what does the competitor do or not do better than us?

Once you’ve answered these questions, whether through online surveys, store surveys, personally email, focus groups, etc., it’s time to develop a persona sheet to help keep your marketing team focused and on the same page: 


Now that you’ve developed a basic foundation for reaching your ideal audience, and have a deep and practical understanding of who your customers are, where they’re located, and their behaviors and habits,it’s time to nail down messaging and effective marketing channels to reach your prospects. Stay tuned for part two, in which we delve deeper into channel decisions and messaging strategies. 

If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of your current audience base, as well as become experts in data analysis, customer profiling, and target segmenting, find out more about Altair’s custom acquisition programs and analysis services, which will allow you to understand new and powerful data-driven insights, as well as applying responsive predictive models to your strategy to help you identify new and untapped markets.