Telmar News & Insights

Consumer is King, Data is Queen: 5 Pitfalls that Could be Damaging Your Media Campaign

March 29, 2021

Never have the above statements been more apt than they are right now. You don’t need an in-depth study of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic or the rise of a digitally native generation to understand this. But with so much going on it can be difficult to identify the mistakes that might be hurting your media campaign.


That’s understandable. Different channels are proliferating all of the time, and social and public issues can blow the intended perception of your media exposure off course. Social media is rightly recognized as a crucial area of focus for media planners, but it can also be a minefield when it comes to ensuring your messaging doesn’t fly against the prevailing winds of audience opinion.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of pitfalls that could affect your campaign results, with some tips on how to avoid them.

1. You’re not using all the data you can to understand your audience

This one could really serve as an umbrella for all of the others because data is now so central to any media campaign strategy. In 2021, you can’t afford to be missing out on the audience insights that data can provide.

Media planning and marketing professionals should be pushing for greater integration of data to enable them to understand their audience – not just who they are, but where they are and how they’re interacting with different forms of media.

By using statistical media planning tools, you can gain a deeper understanding of who your audience is, what your product offers them and how (and where) to best communicate that. Don’t just look at demographic data, attitudinal and lifestyle statements provide a deeper understanding of your target groups values and opinions. The entire communication plan, (media and creative) should have a deep, multifaceted understanding of all aspects of the consumer.

2. You’re not focusing on authenticity and transparency

This could really be two points, but as authenticity and transparency are closely tied together, we’ll cover them both here.

First: authenticity. Research in the UK suggests just 25% of consumers actually trust advertising – down from 49% in 1992, while only 34% of consumers trust the brands they use and buy from. There’s a clear disconnect here, which stems from a similar disconnect in how brands communicate themselves and what they actually do.

Next: transparency. In a similar fashion, consumers mistrust brands who aren’t entirely honest about their practices, particularly around data protection and privacy. Consumers want to know how they’re being targeted and what data has been used to enable that.

Both of these points tie into the need to respect your audience. Brands owe customers transparency regarding the use of their data, but they also need to be authentic in their messaging, and not attempt to sell an image that is not true to the brand. This involves using the right platforms for the right messages and, delivering a sincere and true solution to your consumers’ pain points.

3. You’re not leveraging User Generated Content

UGC isn’t exactly a new concept, but with the increased engagement and transactional communication between brands and users on social media, in particular, it’s starting to become more integral to campaign strategies.

The chief benefit of harnessing user-generated content is authentic engagement. As V3B points out:

“UGC is a great way to promote an authentic image on social media. Allowing your customers to become one of your contributors allows you to put them in the limelight, while also showing that their opinion matters greatly to your business.”

It’s a universal truth that customers have to be at the heart of any media campaign, and one of the best ways to achieve that is to bring the customer in as a part of it. Large audience surveys and data sets can provide extensive information on how to transform consumers on social media from audience to partner.

4. You’re not focusing on returning customers

Of course, you want to try to acquire new customers, but it’s actually returning customers that convert at a higher rate, as well as making higher average purchases.

As such, think about how your media campaign can maximize value from returning customers. The benefit here is that you’ll already have first-hand data for these customers, as they’ll have interacted with your brand before. You can use this data to deliver targeted content across channels and make the most of existing customers.

This isn’t to say that you don’t want to appeal to new prospects with your media campaigns, but each campaign should also include a strand of media aimed at your existing customers.

5. You’re using the wrong platforms

Again, this stems from data-informed insights, but also from common sense. If your primary audience is ‘Gen Z’ or much younger customers, you wouldn’t focus all of your media around platforms like LinkedIn, for example.

This is a very obvious example, but there are new platforms springing up regularly (TikTok wasn’t really on anyone’s radar as a major player until the last couple of years) and consumers are always adapting.

As such, take advantage of demographic reports released by social media platforms, as well as your own and syndicated industry data, to ensure that your messaging is reaching your audience in the right place and at the right time.

The way forward

Many of these pitfalls won’t be new to media planning and marketing professionals. They loop back to considerations that have been crucial to delivering positive ROI for many years, but they bear repeating nonetheless.

And in today’s landscape of economic and social disruption, it’s more important than ever to keep your finger on the pulse of the public mood. This means using data to understand your audience and delivering content that both respects them and resonates with them.

The pitfalls mentioned in this article can mostly be overcome through data mining. The challenge is that there is so much information available, finding the information to address these pitfalls can be incredibly time-consuming. Telmar Insights tools can help overcome this challenge as they have been designed specifically to help the user investigate large amounts of information from multiple sources.  Using the right tools will undoubtfully help you find the right answers to today and tomorrow’s media campaign challenges.

Telmar’s Insights Solutions gives media professional access to powerful insights and meaningful results using easy targeting and segmentation tools.

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