Like 60% of Americans, my family is a fan of the NFL.
On any given Sunday from late September to early February, we can be found either on the couch watching games on TV or at the stadium. During the holidays, team apparel is a go-to gift for me and our kids. And when it comes to the NFL, that means the New York Giants. I have been a Giants fan for 40+ years and for better or worse have passed that down to my kids.
In our household, like many others in the US, the female head of household, does most of the holiday shopping. Online shopping is preferred in our house. Put this together and my wife is browsing and buying New York Giant gear regularly during the year. Now I would expect the apparel brands and retailers who support them to market to my wife.
After all, she is their target – right income bracket, right geographical location, exhibits online shopping behavior, and has made purchases of their or competitor’s products.
However, something strange happened with one online retailer. My wife started to get emails promoting sales of Kansas City Chiefs merchandise. While Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are exceptional players, I would never wear another team’s colors, ever. Neither would my kids. An email or social post promoting the Chiefs didn’t only come one time. Not two or three times. My wife has now been getting email and social media advertising for the Chiefs for the past year, consistently. As this persisted, my wife started actively working to provide feedback to this retailer that she is not, and has never been, interested in buying Chiefs merchandise. Opting out of emails, hiding ads and providing feedback on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As we know, online advertising can be insidious, and in this case, the ads just kept coming.
While my wife’s frustration grew, my attention turned to all the waste in the ecosystem.
First, it was all the time she wasted trying to let this retailer know she didn’t want, need or desire any ads related to the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, there’s the wasted media investment. The brand was paying to get these ads in front of my wife, who had no interest, intention, or inclination to buy what was being promoted. Next, the wasted opportunity to make my wife’s experience better decreased the likelihood that she would make any purchase from this retailer. The retailer’s effort to sell more significantly backfired; my wife won’t be buying from this shop this year and I doubt she will ever again.
With the amount of media being consumed and the number of ads being served through those channels, brands need to do a better job of managing their targeting.
One way to ensure that ads hit the right target is to incorporate consumer validation into the audience build prior to activation. In this case, consumer validation would have helped to refine the target to not include my wife, the occasional shopper, and certainly not Kansas City Chiefs fan. Consumer validation removes the guesswork inherent in traditional probabilistic audience creation based on behaviors alone. Consumer-validated audiences leverage the voice of the customer in the builds, resulting in a deterministic model with a greater likelihood to reach an actual in-market customer. Big Village takes this approach with audience segmentation and generally, these audiences hit the intended target 30% more than other audiences. That’s a lot less waste.