In marketing land we often talk about 'who we want to target' for the next campaign, or how close did we get to the 'target customer' during the most recent campaign.

What we really want to know is did we get the return on spend, and if so should we do more of the same.

An awful lot of old school marketing thinking has been transferred into the digital landscape, this is a place that now allows us to get even closer to the groups of people we most want to broadcast our message into because our stats tell us they are most likely to respond, we know their browsing history, we can tell gender, geography, and age range, its not quite the one to one personalised approach we were all promised but for now, close enough? 

So, what have we done with all that information? - we have ended up shooting ourselves in firmly the foot with programmatic, a technology that can fire out bland, meaningless creative ads at the precision of a machine gun for a fraction of the cost of what we used to have to pay.

And as the saying goes, 'just because you can, doesn't mean you should'.

If we take a look at the key age demographics (16-34) for 'ad blockers' around the world we see a stark correlation with those age groups who are tech savvy, and not used to having to see adverts because they know how to find the 'free' stuff', these are the so called millenial's, and right behind them are 'Generation Z' who are the teenagers going through the education system today. Take a moment to think about who you spend a lot of your 'ad' budget trying to target, go on just have a think?

So, as the Gen Z enter into the world of influence, and they continue to tell you they don't want to put up with your intrusive adverts what are you going to tell your board when 'what used to work' no longer does?

Does the future offer more to a more targeting savvy digital marketer, or a more ethical, content driven one?

With GDPR now in full force, businesses in the EU now have a clear set of guidelines to ensure they collect and process their customer’s data. But where where it gets cloudy is where businesses are targeting and collecting information about users through data acquired by platforms, in most cases based in the US, and relying on the consent they have acquired to target people with their marketing? So says the author of the article (link below) that ask the relevant question about 'social listening' and its ethical use in light of all the recent data abuse scandals.

There are a plethora of 'social listening' tools out there, but as with most tools they can be used for good, or evil, or in far to many cases not used at all. Social listening that is used to simply target more people with adverts most definitely isn't the way to go, but with an internally aligned social media strategy 'listening' could in fact be one of the key tools that can help you on the road to building a truly authentic social media relationship with your existing customers, and of course help you to find all those new ones.