Let’s face the facts - there’s no one-size-fits-all advertising strategy that will allow you to target your entire target audience at any given time. The 1950s was likely one of the last times a marketer could take out a newspaper advertisement or book a television slot for a commercial and be successful with reaching a large audience. Today’s consumer is on the go and present on a variety of channels, from browsing millions of websites on their mobile devices to social. Brands that have accepted and embraced this with a customer-centric approach, have been the winners.

1. Your customers are fragmented and niche

With the constant pace of change, it’s all too easy for brands to allow themselves to become paralyzed, not knowing where to start or how to approach the adoption of a customer-centric strategy. For these brands, a perspective shift is necessary.

If you are one of these marketers, take a step back and think about the customers that have purchased your product within the past year. Are they all of a similar demographic? Can you see them hanging out at the same restaurants, at the same events? The truth is likely that each of your customers will have their own likes and dislikes, and affinities, and finding them in the same location is no more than wishful thinking.

The good news is that for you, the only way is up. Taking any step is a step in the right direction, and once you begin you’ll find you have a lot more to work with than you think. “Marketers have to place an emphasis on finding audiences in all the niche areas in which they exist or pass through on a regular basis,” says Dilshan Kathriarachchi, CTO at EQ. “Sticking to traditional spray and pray will only turn you into an atheist.”

2. You have a data advantage - use it

While there isn’t a shortcut to tapping into the perfect audience, taking what you know about your customer and using it to create your initial audiences means you’ll be a lot closer than others who simply take a shot in the dark. I say initial because it’s rare that your first audience is the audience. In fact, it’s a lot more likely that you’ll end up with a collection of audiences that resonate with different messaging at different times - and that’s exactly the situation you’re trying to create.

If you have a variety of products or services that you offer, it’s likely that each product will have its own set of fragmented audiences, and that can be overwhelming. But you’re less helpless than you think. You likely already have a wealth of data to draw from at your fingertips, including intimate knowledge of your existing customers that can be found in your purchasing database that you can tap into.

That data is highly valuable - it allows you to create an audience you can learn from to create more audiences and test, learn, optimize.

3. Test, learn, optimize

Once you’ve built your first audience, it’s time for the rewarding part. Unleash your creative on your audience and pay attention to how they interact with your messaging.

Experimenting - and learning - from different messages and offers lets you know just which products and services attract customers. You can play with various contextual messaging, from location-based offers

In fact, the primary reason campaigns fail (read: no ROI) is due to spraying and praying with the budget. In contrast, a successful campaign will incorporate learning, highlighting engagement touchpoints in the creative and re-allocating budget to maximize the potential of those touchpoints.

This may seem a bit daunting, but we promise, it’s easier than it sounds. And remember, you’re not alone. An experienced advertising partner can and will help you to be able to navigate the possibilities of your own data and the wealth of third-party data out there to find and refine your audiences, learn more about them, and eventually, target them with precision.