Defining Your Best Audience

by Sam Bussmann, Data Scientist - 05/08/15

Its becoming common knowledge that content marketing is an effective way to engage with consumers, and marketers have a pretty good grasp on what kind of content is relevant. How do you determine the best audience for that content?

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With time and resources limited, marketers must focus their efforts on the best audiences to engage. 

To tackle this, the first question to answer is: “How is best’ defined?

For most organizations, the best person to build a relationship with through content marketing is the one who drives the most incremental revenue after consuming the content. This can be assessed using ROI, and a good ROI report can help you understand how to alter your targeted audience moving forward. But true ROI is only available after the fact, when enough results can be compiled to offer a statistically significant sample.

It turns out there is a pretty good proxy for ROI that can help us from the beginning: expected revenue generation. (That is, the amount of revenue an individual is estimated to generate over some period of time—such an estimate can be defined using a predictive model.) Those expected to spend the most money are also the ones that can be swayed to spend the most incremental dollars through engagement and content marketing.

Now that we have defined what best means, who is best to engage with?

We have great data to help answer this question for healthcare providers. It probably won’t be a surprise that the consumers who generate the most revenue on a per capita basis are the Medicare-aged population. What may be a surprise is that these consumers also generate the most profit per capita. The reimbursement rates are slimmer, of course—and so are the profit margins.

But our research shows that they are also two times more likely to become a patient and use three times more care when they do become patients compared with middle age, commercially insured groups. This greater likelihood of care use and volume of care combine to overwhelm the lower reimbursement rates and margins. Simply stated, commercially insured consumers are low volume, high margin. And Medicare consumers are high volume, lower margin. Medicare consumers come out ahead in terms of revenue and profit per capita.

So what does this mean?

It doesn’t mean you should engage only with the Medicare-aged population—certainly there is value in creating and distributing content for other groups. What it does suggest, however, is that the Medicare-aged households should probably make up a bit more of your targeted audience. It also means that a targeting strategy that involves simple selects (e.g. incomes above 50k, female present in household) is probably leaving money on the table.

To ensure you aren’t leaving money on the table, contact True North CMO Jason Skinner at jskinner@truenorthcustom.com or (423) 305-7692 for more information on how to get your content to the right audience.

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