Under the old print/broadcast media model, those marketing to consumers would reach out to a target audience by placing ads in publications or radio and TV programs that appealed to certain demographic segments. Beer advertisements during broadcasts of sporting events and kitchen utensil advertisements sponsoring cooking shows are classic examples of this approach.
The Internet offers a means of more focused targeting of individual consumers who meet certain criteria with advertisements or selected editorial material. The shift from marketing to a broad audience, hoping that your target audience is tuned in and listening to your message, to using the Internet to target specific consumers who are online and engaged can provide marketing success at a lower cost to egg producers, according to Kevin Burkum, senior vice president, marketing, American Egg Board (AEB).
Finding your target audience
Everything we do online leaves some sort of a trail for marketers to follow. Visiting a website, searching for specific terms using a web browser, making purchases with a credit card or using a shopper loyalty card to make in-store purchases all leave traces that marketers can sort through to see if you meet the criteria they have set for their desired target audience. You may never have shopped for groceries online, but if you have a shopper loyalty card for a grocery store, then there are ways for the scan data of your in-store purchases to be linked to your online identity. Marketers may not just know that you print out online coupons, but they might even know which ones you redeem most often.
"When consumers demonstrate certain online and/or purchase behavior on their computers, then they are targeted with AEB messaging," said Burkum. "In this case, we are most interested in reaching adults ages 18 to 49 who are looking for: egg, healthy living, breakfast and/or Easter content and/or those who are identified as head-of-household grocery shoppers, breakfast buyers and/or eaters."
Correctly targeted Internet advertising provides a very efficient alternative to print and broadcast advertising. Burkum said, "It's highly targeted and provides strong efficiencies, as your message only reaches those people you want to talk to. We are able to identify people who have consumed online content about a specific topic and/or who have exhibited a specific search behavior. Also, the purchase of data from data suppliers/aggregators can turn credit card purchase data and/or self-reported purchase data into non-personally identifiable cookies to be matched with an online database to then target ads to that user."
MSN and AOL are examples of two data suppliers/aggregators. Companies that provide free online services like e-mail, video hosting, picture storage and web search are able to sell information about your online history to marketers and deliver targeted advertisements to you as well.
Focusing on healthy living
Under the traditional publishing model there are fairly clear distinctions between editorial content, advertising and advertorial content. In the brave new world of online publishing, these distinctions have blurred, and marketers have lots of options for placing targeted content, whether advertisements, editorial material or advertorials in front of highly targeted consumers. Burkum provided some examples of how AEB is leveraging these new online marketing opportunities.
For instance, the Food Network's website ran an article, "10 foods that are healthier than you think," on its website, which cited AEB as a source and featured eggs in a manner that would appeal to health conscious consumers. To get even more bang out of this article, Burkum said that AEB paid websites running other healthy eating focused content to place a link to the "10 foods that are healthier than you think" article. Burkum said that placing these links "amplifies the reach" of the original article.
Targeting mobile users
One of the advantages of accessing the Internet from a personal computer is that you don't need to download special software applications or apps to access websites, but consumers accessing websites using mobile devices like tablets and smart phones offer marketers another means of targeting consumers in special circumstances. For instance, some consumers still look out the window upon waking in the morning to check the weather, but others turn on their smart phone and visit a site like www.weather.com. Burkum said that marketers like AEB can place ads that display only for consumers who access a website via a mobile device or a particular time of day. This technology means that the identified health conscious consumer who checks on the weather first thing using a smartphone may view an advertisement for eggs as they walk from the bedroom to the kitchen.
Willingness of mobile device users to download apps, particularly free ones, was utilized by AEB as part of its Take Back Easter campaign in 2013. An egg decorating app received more than 40,000 downloads and was in the Top 10 iPad apps within the Food and Drink Category in March of 2013, Burkum reported.