by Adam Ortman, SVP Growth & Innovation, Generator Media + Analytics


Understanding your audience is at the very heart of effective marketing. With a good grasp of who your customers are, what they want, their pain points, and their unique attributes, you can build a rock-solid marketing strategy that speaks directly to them.


In today’s data-driven world, it’s easier than ever to understand your customers and what makes them tick. Companies now have access to vast reservoirs of data about every aspect of their customers’ lives and habits. It’s possible to make informed marketing decisions and maximize your resources.


This ability to understand your audience and target them effectively with your marketing efforts is what we call “audience science”. In this article, we’ll break down what audience science is and how marketers can use it to gain a powerful advantage and grow their businesses.


What is audience science?


Audience science is all about understanding your audience from every possible angle, forming a detailed and accurate picture about them and their lives that you can use to drive your marketing campaigns.


It’s best to evaluate your audience from multiple perspectives, so you gain a multi-dimensional picture of the people in it, brought to life in our detailed target personas. This allows you to create marketing approaches that really speak to your audience and connect with them, bolstering your chances of success and reducing costs.


That data includes items such as age, buying habits, income, previous experience with your products, priorities, and much more.


Audience science relies on data from a wide range of sources. Our most common sources include custom survey data, sales and conversion data, your CRM database, syndicated sources such as MRI, and data from the use of your products and services (or first-party data).


What does audience science mean for marketers?


Marketers who are able to harness the power of audience science stand to gain a lot. Here are just a few of the benefits:


More value for your budget


Understanding your audience better means you can create more targeted, informed marketing campaigns. You’ll speak to your potential customers where they live, clearly addressing their pain points and the issues relevant to them.


Instead of spamming wide audiences of people with largely irrelevant messaging, you’ll specifically connect with people who have a need for your products. This allows you to stretch your marketing dollars further instead of wasting money on inefficient campaigns.


Converting at lower costs


Targeting is a tricky business, and almost impossible to get completely right the first time on gut feelings alone. With an audience science-based approach, you can refine your existing targeting based on the new data and insights you collect. This allows you to improve on past marketing efforts, successfully connecting with more potential customers and converting them into buyers at lower costs.


Real-time insights


The benefits of audience science don’t end when your campaign launches. Done right, you can keep gaining valuable insights while the campaign is up and running. This allows you to tweak your approach extremely quickly as you learn what works and what is a waste of money. It is Generator’s mantra to constantly be testing audiences for this very reason.


Learning from all corners of the web


Audience science is all about taking multiple perspectives. That means drawing insights and information from as wide a range of sources as possible to gain as rich an understanding as possible about your potential customers.


Social listening is one example — spending time on the social media pages and channels where your audience frequently spends time to understand what they talk about, what they would like more of, and what they want to change. Review pages and sites are also great here.


Engaging more effectively


Audience science helps you engage with your audience much more effectively, going beyond understanding simply who they are and also showing you how to connect with them. This way, audience science can inform messaging and engagement tactics, allowing you to get on your audience’s level and communicate with them through all the best channels, through every stage of the customer journey.


On top of that, audience science helps establish your audience size and opportunity, which is critical to effective media buys.


Does audience science respect data privacy?


Data privacy is an incredibly hot topic, and will only become more important as time goes on. Sites like Google are already coming down hard, moving away from things like third-party cookies which were previously a major source of audience data for many businesses.


Future regulations are likely to make it harder than ever for businesses to access information about their audiences. So what does this mean for audience science?


The good news is that audience science does not have to, and should not, invade customer privacy or violate any regulations. Instead, we work closely with platforms like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many others to ensure compliance with any data security rules and regulations.


How Generator Media + Analytics’s clients benefit from audience science


Generator Media helps a hospitality brand — the world’s largest system of campgrounds — tap into the power of audience science to prospect camping audiences who might not have stayed with them before. By focusing on consumers who were purchasing camping gear, researching camping sites, reading camping content, and more, as well as first-party loyalists, they were able to drive significant performance success. The overall campaign resulted in a 6x advertising ROI.


A global non-profit was seeing a decline in donors in a variety of areas, so they turned to Generator for expert assistance. Generator’s experienced teams of marketers helped this non-profit prospect donors who were most likely to schedule a donation appointment through the use of statistical look-a-like modeling modeled from rich first-party data, while also excluding people who had donated within the last month, saving valuable marketing budget otherwise wasted. The overall campaign helped reduce the cost of revenue KPI (cost of acquiring a $1 donation) by 61%.


At Generator Media, audience science is at our core and we believe that learning more about your audience should not create any privacy issues. The methods we use — like survey data, contextual targeting, and first-party data — are designed to respect individuals’ privacy rights and comply with any regulations while increasing campaign efficiency and effectiveness.