The down low on profiling

Ed Hill, a fellow Director at Space & Time, penned a focus on leveraging local performance for national brands back in March. This content eloquently explored some of the recent changes in approach to planning for local and national advertising campaigns, the disruption that tech has brought to the media industry and the value of a blended use of local and national media. In this follow up I’ll focus on the benefits of a nimble and nuanced approach to customer profiling, and how an up-to-date understanding of the often-shifting profile of your customers can influence fully integrated media planning at a local and national level.

Generally, marketeers (and those of us that reside in ad land) all have a pretty good handle on who our customers (or our clients’ customers) are, or who we’d like to speak to and try to leverage. That said, with the pace of societal and economic change – and significant technological advances – in recent years, it makes sense to really know who they are, to understand what life stage they are at, what inspires them and drives their aspirations, how and where they spend any disposable income and how they spend their time with specific media channels (and, increasingly, how they spend their time online).

The results of a marriage between tech and research

Back in 2015, when the development and usage of martech was really starting to take a hold in the UK, Space & Time’s emerging tech and consumer research divisions collaborated to develop a proprietary mapping and profiling tool for clients. This platform allows us to use client first-party data to create a concise profile of existing or potential customers, showing things like home ownership status, Mosaic and FSS groupings (more on these later), age, household income and length of residency. Alongside this a cluster/ heat map function visualises exactly where each of the prospects on the list resides. Within minutes you have a vastly clearer picture of where customers come from at a national or local level – helping pinpoint specific geographic areas to target for (or to exclude from) future campaigns – and a more sophisticated understanding of their demographic composition, which can subsequently be used to shape media selection and targeting.

To illustrate the value of this exercise with a couple of practical examples of its utility: at a local level this insight might be used to identify postal sectors that could be fruitfully door-dropped to support the launch or ongoing requirements of a specific outlet; when leveraged nationally it might identify regions that offer a relatively untapped opportunity, or which might prove a likely testbed for regional broadcast activity. In either instance it would also reveal something about the proclivities, tendencies and preoccupations of the people in these locations, which would offer rich pickings to any Creative Director worth their salt.

Consumer classification can open up a variety of opportunities

To fully understand the key elements of any customer profiling, it really makes sense to first study the rudiments of consumer classification. Space & Time use Mosaic, Experian’s long-established consumer segmentation model which segments the UK population into specific groups and types. It really helps to ‘speak’ Mosaic, as this can facilitate the understanding of consumer trends and behaviours and applying this insight to campaign planning can ensure the most relevant, readily consumed media channels are deployed, facilitating message development and maximising appeal to these different audiences.

We offer full training on consumer classification and clients that have become au fait with Mosaic’s segmentation, terminology and rationales are quickly able to get to grips with the types of audiences that their products or services resonate with, some of the additional targeting that can be applied to media campaigns (online and offline), and the main media consumption habits of their core audiences. Knowing your ‘Domestic Success’ from your ‘Aspiring Homemakers’ can really help marketing and sales teams to differentiate between audiences and eke out opportunities to engage with these audiences in unique and effective ways. What’s not to like?

Taking things to the next level

Going one step further, Space & Time offer an ‘Advanced Customer Profiling’ product – allowing us to provide in-depth information on customers and the neighbourhoods they live in over time, to explore the underlying factors influencing their financial behaviour and to reflect on the multitude of different ways in which these consumers engage with the wider digital world.

The first stage looks at an overall profile in relation to the UK adult population; gender, age, employment and marital status, and a regional ‘normalised personal income’. Then we can plot the various Mosaic groups in relation to age and affluence, showing the size of each group, representative of its volume as a percentage of UK households – allowing us to establish which groups are most over-represented. We can then explore the different traits of these groups; lifestage, home ownership, education, typical household income, lifestyle, the types of things they use or buy or their attitudes to things like the environment.

At this point we can also start to look at changes in Mosaic profiles over time. Why are these changes occurring? Is it down to campaign messaging, changes to brand, to a shift in regional presence or a specific product focus?

We then apply the same techniques to drill down into customers using Financial Strategy Segments (FSS), which provide a sharper focus on mortgages, insurance and pensions, spending and banking habits. Finally, Mosaic Digital helps us understand more about device usage, the types of websites and apps consumers use and other online behaviours. All told, it’s a highly sophisticated and enlightening way of understanding more about audiences on a national and regional level – and shifts in trends over time.

The devil’s in the detail

The next stage of the process sees us bring other consumer research tools to bear, to investigate the specific media consumption habits of these established Mosaic groups. In the next instalment in this series, I’ll look at how we demonstrate this and then expand on the relationship between some key online and offline media platforms and how they can really prove their worth as part of a regional media strategy.

If you want to find out more about how consumer classification works, delve further into the composition of your customer base and understand how this can be applied to your next campaign, get in touch.