If a university wanted to get the word out to students about a book promotion or a campus event, it likely wouldn't just pass out fliers or other printed material. If the school was smart, it would text its students, send out a mass e-mail or tweet about it.
In that same vein, a company or organization wouldn't give a shout on Facebook if it wanted to spread the word about an event or a product to a senior citizens center.
When it comes to a cross-media campaign—a campaign that combines print, e-mail, the Web, personalized URLs (PURLs), mobile and/or social media on a one-to-one basis and provides multiple opportunities to reach every recipient—knowing the target audience, how it listens and what it likes and dislikes is instrumental.
Demographics, such as gender, age, title, occupation and income level, help companies and organizations understand their targets and refine their campaign strategies. But, basic demographics aren't always enough. It's also important to know what influences a particular audience, what it cares about and how a client's offering speaks to its wants and needs.
James Michelson, founder and principal at Indianapolis-based JFM Concepts and author of "Cross Media Marketing 101: The concise guide to surviving in the C-Suite," reminded the primary use of data and demographics in a cross-media campaign is to create "personas" for potential visitors.
"Personas are profiles that describe the characteristics of a prospect," Michelson explained. "This profile can be as simple as utilizing separate text for male or female visitors or something complex like varying offers, text, graphics and videos based on industry vertical, client type, revenue, distance from office and thousands of more criteria. Creating these personas is not complicated and only requires the use of a spreadsheet."
According to Laura Terry, CEO of Rockford, Illinois-based Trekk, Inc., data management (from a cross-media perspective) includes all of the processes that relate to collecting, developing, optimizing, sharing and analyzing information that is useful for reaching and engaging target audiences.