Finding hidden audiences will save brands from going under during recession

Author: ronny

Published: 26th October 2022


Brands have a tendency to make assumptions about who their actual target audience is. Conventional wisdom and personal experience can contribute to these misapprehensions and cause them to focus on the most ‘obvious’ market segment. This means they are missing the less obvious but important secondary opportunities – those lesser known consumers who are also buying the product. Falling into this trap, particularly in the midst of challenging economic conditions where budgets are stretched to the limits and under scrutiny, can be the difference between brands thriving and barely surviving. Discovering these different target audiences requires not just regular market data but touchpoint rich, behavioural data.

Many brands turn to surveys to better understand the buying behaviour of their customers. Surveys are a problematic tool though as claimed behaviour is extremely inaccurate –  people may tick boxes to say they are reading books, going to the museum and listening to the opera, but in reality they are playing Candy Crush all day long.

A sector that particularly suffers from this problem is male online clinics which help men who have problems such as erectile dysfunction. These clinics have little information in their armoury about who their customers are as anonymity and discretion is paramount and most respondents will not admit their problem due to denial or embarrassment. They have even less data on customer behaviour prior to purchase. This lack of hard data creates the perfect environment for misapprehensions to be driving the marketing plan.

ViewersLogic took a look at its own data and challenged the conventional wisdom.

The results?

In general, the primary audience of these clinics was obvious – 45+ year old males. Indeed, most of their campaigns were targeted to this audience.

However, our single-source behavioural data, uncovered who was actually interested in this sector and we (and most importantly, the client) were surprised by the results.

We found that only two thirds of the users who visited these sites and searched for relevant keywords were male (average age: 49.5). The interesting thing was that the final third of the audience were female (average age: 41).

In many cases, while the man who suffers from this problem is in denial, his female partner is already aware and has started to look for a solution – in this example, targeting males will either not help (still in denial) or be too late as the female already convinced her partner to start talking to one of the clinics she found.

This finding alone will  hugely influence the campaign strategies for all brands in this sector. But there was more….

We found that women who searched for these types of problems were significantly younger – while only 15% of males were below 40, 53% of female users were under 40. This means male clinics may benefit from a campaign targeting younger women. Furthemore, our data revealed where these women can be found, including which TV channels they watched, websites they visited or apps they used allowing for precise targeting. It’s well accepted and proven that the earlier you catch the customer in their decision-making process the higher the chance they will buy your product. Brands have long sought data that can chart a consumer’s entire path to purchase, detailing the primary factors that influence their consideration and purchase decisions.

In this case, our data shows that purchase consideration doesn’t start with the end user but rather with his female partner when she starts to suffer from his condition often before he recognises that he even has a problem. For these online clinics there is a big opportunity to increase their marketing effectiveness if they approach this target audience in the right way.