Target specifically – rather than broadly

Segment the target group, specify the messages – and above all: don’t become obsessed with the number of ad clicks. Frank Langva from Innovasjon Norge offers his best advice on how to survive in an age when the traditional campaign is dead.

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Frank Langva, Head of Digital Media at Innovasjon Norge. Photo: Frida Marie Grande.

To reach the consumer, it is no longer sufficient to adopt a shotgun approach and hope that the right customer is hiding somewhere in your sights. Modern consumers demand more. As a company, you have to show that you have earned their attention.

“You have to act differently nowadays, and be smarter than in the past. You have to define your target group, segment it and finally specify the messages. And you must understand the digital long-term effects of the communication,” says Frank Langva, Head of Digital Media at Innovasjon Norge – a governmental and municipally owned company that supports, among other things, entrepreneurs and innovations.

Set your sights

Some campaigns take off and go viral, but that’s often the result of fortunate circumstances. Most campaigns go beneath the radar without attracting very much attention. So, what do you do to make an impact? You must be coordinated and have a plan, believes Frank Langva.

“It means that you must decide whom you want to reach. Because you must have an understanding of the target group in order to know where you can reach it – for example, whether it’s on Facebook, in newsletters or using physical mailings. Be on as many relevant platforms as possible, but don’t aim at everyone – that’s unmanageable.”

Get to know the target group

To be able to work more specifically and understand the customer’s future needs, you need demographic data, everything from gender to home, industry and browsing history of websites. Then you have to sift out the data that is not relevant for the specific campaign. By way of example, Frank Langva was working on a customer project that was aiming to reach startups. They sorted out all companies that were more than three years old. They are now working to improve the customer journey in order to give customers a more simple way to access Innovasjon Norge’s services. The basis of effective communication is a better understanding of who the customers are and what characterises them. 

“For our part, it’s all about understanding who is actually looking to make contact with us. Then we can use that insight to prioritise and improve our communication. By sorting out anything that’s not relevant, we shorten the path to the information that the customer wants.”

Top of mind with a digital long-term effect

Success comes above all from a long-term approach, believes Frank Langva. Far too many people simply look at how many clicks a Facebook ad generates, and use that to paint a picture of how effective their marketing has been.

“You shouldn’t become obsessed with whether an ad generates lots of clicks. That’s not a good means of understanding the customer’s process. Contexts are complex – a sponsored article that the recipient has viewed may subconsciously affect a purchasing decision three weeks later”.

Only when the customer needs the product and is about to make a purchase does the campaign have an impact on sales. To achieve this affect, it is important that you prioritise being visible in several channels over a long period of time. Those who adopt a long-term approach will be high up in the customer’s consciousness and can build a positive relationship. 

“It’s easier and more reassuring for the customer to choose the one that’s been visible and earned credibility.”

What will happen with companies and organisations that insist on continuing with traditional marketing campaigns?

“I think that that way of working is dying out. Those that continue with old campaigns will survive for a little bit longer, but it’s not a sustainable business model. Those that will win are the ones that truly understand that data segmentation and target group-based offers are the future.”

What advice would you give to companies that are currently thinking about future campaigns?

“Don’t be afraid to try something new. You have to try things out in order to learn. But be patient – it’s not certain that you’ll see an immediate reaction.”