Great advertising is not always about achieving the widest reach – sometimes brands make a strategic decision to keep marketing small and personal, with really niche audiences.
Highly targeted campaigns can help brands build an affinity with particular demographics – those identified as being their most valuable customers. This focus on niche audiences generates a huge boost for campaign results, greater return on marketing spend, with higher rates of conversion, thanks to an overall increase in brand loyalty – one of the most important brand metrics out there.
By narrowing down your marketing personas you can craft messaging that really resonates and then deliver it to your selected audience through precise targeting. Let’s look at how some big brands are appealing to small audiences through highly targeted campaigns…
KitchenAid dishes up a campaign for “makers”
Some people cook because they have to, some people do it because they love it. The second group are the consumers KitchenAid decided to focus on with its 2018 “The Marks” campaign.
After carrying out consumer research, the home appliance brand identified a niche audience that spends more time in the kitchen than the average person.
KitchenAid’s Senior Brand Manager, Christina Hoskins, told AdAge: “We spent several months learning more about the consumer we serve. We recognise that cooking for them and being a maker in the kitchen is part of who they are — part of their identity.”
KitchenAid worked with agency Digitas to describe numerous different types of ‘makers’, identifiable by the following marks:
- Physical marks can’t be hidden — it’s the cooking-themed tattoo on their arm, the burns and blisters worn like badges of honour, earned by perfecting a recipe over many tries.
- Behavioural marks highlight how makers operate a little differently — they read cookbooks like novels and find ways to grow basil on their balcony, farming on the 49th floor.
- Emotional marks show off how cooking can be tied to mood — to makers, meals are inextricably linked to memories and cooking can be an act of love (or an act of self-care, procrastination, meditation, etc.).
- Kitchen marks are all about how makers own their domain — it’s the stand mixers that are always left on the counter, ingredients kept within an arm’s distance, appliances carefully chosen, proudly displayed, well-cared for and ready for the next recipe.
“The Marks” campaign included short films with customised brand messages tailored to individual consumers and crafted specifically to different platforms. The videos were sequenced to create personalised, engaging ad experiences spotlighting various marks that appeal to specific types of makers. Makers were also encouraged to share their own unique marks on social media using #MarksOfMaking.
Procter & Gamble creates 350 personas for niche campaigns
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is so convinced about the effectiveness of highly targeted campaigns and niche audiences, and it’s using them across its entire portfolio.
The company has used its 1 billion+ consumer IDs to build “smart audiences”, identifying niche audiences to target for each brand.
P&G CEO David Taylor told Marketing Week that this shift away from “generic demographics” towards much more granular segmentation was helping support one-to-one brand building, while eliminating “wasteful” mass marketing.
“We are going from generic demographic targeting, like women aged 18 to 35, to more than 350 precise smart audiences, like first-time mums, millennial professionals or first-time washing machine owners, to help us reach the right people at the right time, in the right place,” he explained.
“That is only going to get more powerful…and we will get more accomplished at performance marketing to serve people messages that meet their needs.”
Taylor added that the approach was also aiding P&G’s innovation pipeline: “We are testing more ideas that we then focus on, incubate and advance. We are learning fast with small teams at relatively small investment. We have the confidence we can find ideas and business propositions that have great promise with minimal investment,” he said.
Coca-Cola takes targeting back to school
With young people watching less and less live television – and becoming increasingly resistant to traditional advertising – it’s more challenging for brands like Coca-Cola to reach them. The brand worked alongside Snapchat to target the niche audience of teens much more precisely – in their schools and colleges.
Coke created content for Snapchat’s Back to School stories, a feature available exclusively in 50 US colleges, only to people on campus. The soft drink brand worked hard to tailor its messaging to fit in with the user-generated content being posted by high school and college students as they returned to class.
The strategy re-think followed the disappointing performance of Coca-Cola TV ads that had previously been repurposed for use on Snapchat.
Emmanuel Seuge from Coca-Cola North America, told Fast Company: “We learned we needed to adjust the way we talk to Snapchat’s audience because they detect when it’s advertising.”
As a result, Coca-Cola opted to show a guy in pyjamas quickly getting dressed for school. The video – shot in portrait mode – doesn’t feature a logo, but the student dresses himself in a Coke branded t-shirt and shoes and is drinking a bottle of the drink.
According to Digiday: “This kind of low-key branding was intentional because Snapchat needs to approve every ad, and it doesn’t allow logos to take over the screen for too long.”
Tailoring its content to the Snapchat platform and the target audience of students resulted in a marked upswing in engagement, with a 54% completion rate for the 10-second Coke spot. Earlier this year, Snapchat found that 60% to 70% of users stopped watching ads on the app just three seconds in.
Huggies targets affluent parents for premium nappy launch
Huggies decided to move away from its typical mass-reach strategy to target an affluent niche audience for the launch of Huggies Special Delivery nappies in North America.
The brand devised a campaign designed to appeal to parents who “don’t want to make trade-offs or compromises … who strive for that perfect experience for their babies,” Kristine Rhode, Brand Director at Huggies North America told The Drum.
Based on the brand’s research about what appeals to this demographic, the usual aesthetic of nappy ads was swapped for soft, monochrome photography, more reminiscent of a campaign for perfume.
And rather than buying up hours of network airtime across the US and Canada wholesale, Huggies took aim at a more affluent customer through addressable TV (the ability to show different ads to different households while they are watching the same program).
This was backed by a “highly targeted social launch” via Facebook and Instagram and partnerships with “high-end, parent-centric” media platforms to promote Special Delivery in paid content deals. The brand also worked with a swathe of micro-influencers.
“We really want to reach moms and dads in a way that feels special, so we think about launching this product as an elevated, total experience – whether it’s the design of the box, the stylish designs on diapers or reaching moms where they just find their content today,” said Rhode.
Louis Vuitton bags local shoppers with location-targeting
Last Christmas, Louis Vuitton devised a location-targeted Facebook campaign to find customers online and push them into its real-world Louis Vuitton boutiques.
The prestigious French fashion house was amongst the first to use Facebook’s store traffic ad objective, which allows brands to target ads to people most likely to visit a physical shop location – that’s one niche audience.
Louis Vuitton decided to test the store visits objective by running the Christmas campaign across eight stores in Italy over one month. The brand targeted ads to specific users within a set radius of each boutique. It used existing customer data to create a custom audience to retarget and then expanded its reach using Facebook’s lookalike audiences feature.
Facebook said: “The campaign encouraged customers to find the perfect gift in the “enchanted world” of Louis Vuitton, helping to bridge the gap between people’s online and in-store shopping journeys.
“The carousel ad format was chosen, which includes a map showing customers where they could find the nearest store. This easy format helped consumers find local boutique information in the most convenient way.”
The campaign succeeded in achieving 13,000 recorded store visits at a cost of €1.26 cost each.
A final thought
Really getting to know your customers makes your job as a marketer so much easier – not only do you know how to speak to your core consumers, you know how to find them too.
Thanks to addressable TV and advanced targeting on social media, reaching a very specific demographic is becoming increasingly simple. You can deliver precise messaging to a precise audience at a precise time, resulting in highly optimised campaigns.
Want to incorporate niche audience targeting into your marketing campaigns? Grab your free copy of the Marketing Leader’s Guide to Campaign Planning – it’s full of expert tips and tricks to help you plan the most effective campaigns possible, using a killer combo of data and creativity.