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Nudging the media odds ever in your favour

SPARK Media recently hosted Dr Carl Driesener, Senior Marketing Scientist from the Ehrenburg Bass Institute (EBI) to share his learnings on how marketers and brands can better target their customers for more effective bottom line results.  

“We’ve learned so much about effective marketing over the years thanks to our association with EBI,” says SPARK Media’s CEO Gill Randall, “and there’s never been a more important time us to implement these guidelines for businesses to succeed in the current economy.”

Dr Carl said that targeting is like adding salt to your cooking, a little makes it delicious but too much makes it inedible.

His top five tips are:

  1. Be inclusive, rather than exclusive, – the premise behind tight targeting and segmentation is that different brands appeal to different customers.  In reality, we know that the world doesn’t work this way!

There is very little difference between competing brands and all category buyers are your potential customers.

  • So, target all category buyers, not some idealised “brand” profile.
  1. Make your target market description evidence-based.

Don’t work on assumptions about what the customer-base looks like

  1. Avoid targeting only your heavy buyers.

Heavy buyers do deliver volume, but growth comes from the many light and non-buyers, because there are so many of them.

(Counter-intuitively, heavy users need less ad exposure, as the brands are already part of their regular behaviour and therefore more salient.)

  1. Buy media on reach (big numbers) rather than indices –
  • Seductive over-indexing often hides the fact that the channel still delivers small numbers.
  • Always check raw numbers – large audiences are still the primary focus.
  1. Don’t sacrifice reach or continuity of exposure for engagement.
  • High impact campaigns are often expensive and only reach limited numbers!

What are the implications for media?

Go for bigger media – they reach more of everyone.  Evaluate your choices on effectiveness first – i.e. How many sales/feet through the door and efficiency second – cost per conversion.

“As a South African sponsor of EBI, we remain committed to bringing these evidence-based learnings to our marketing industry,” concludes Randall.


Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location-based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents an arsenal of print products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’.

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