Stop targeting demographics and start using traveler intents
Are you tired of hearing about millennials and their travel habits? Wouldn’t you like to use data to discover more than just age and gender? Forget what you think you know about targeting by demographics.
Currently, when marketers target specific audiences, they consistently generalize and stereotype people into categories such as gender, age, and sexual orientation. Humans don’t like this because they pride themselves on being different from one another.
Learn about a new approach. Read on to discover why you should stop targeting based on stereotypes and instead start looking at why visitors are traveling.
Pivoting our approach
A group of employees at Madden set out to identify the perfect holistic marketing mix of paid, earned, shared, and owned media outlets for our diverse partners. During these discussions, we found ourselves continually coming back to personas and how they are the starting point for most marketing channel discussions. But we realized that each of us felt as though we don’t always identify with the demographics people were putting us in.
It was then that we changed our mindset on how we should target consumers: There is no one-size-fits-all marketing mix—just like there is no one-size-fits-all traveler. Each destination has its own set of unique offerings, and each traveler has their own vision for their perfect vacation.
There are countless personas, audiences, and marketing channels out there, and at the end of the day, you can’t do everything. And you shouldn’t! You should instead focus on executing on the right platforms for your audience.
This brought us to the idea of targeting based on traveler intents. The first piece of the puzzle is to narrow down what kind of travelers your destination identifies with or wants to attract.
Current demographics are broken
None of these concepts are all that revolutionary. However, as our Maddenite work group moved deeper into the discussion, we started to realize that demographics weren’t covering it. We were annoyed at how age generalizations were placing us in boxes that we didn’t identify with. We realized we need to stop thinking about targeting solely based on demographics because that isn’t an accurate picture of an individual and most certainly can’t determine why someone might be traveling.
When marketers talk about targeting specific audiences, we put people into categories based on gender, age, and sexual orientation. We take the stance that they all desire the same type of content and can all be reached on the same platform based on characteristics and not interests. As much as marketers like to think that all millennials and boomers are the same, they most certainly are not. We need to stop grouping potential travelers this way and start looking at why they are traveling. A person’s travel intents are better indicators of how we can target them for their next vacation, and by taking this approach, we are capturing more opportunities for potential travelers than span multiple demographics and traveler intents.
For example, let’s think about the typical outdoor traveler. You might picture the quintessential young, fit adventurers. But they are only a sliver of who might be considered an outdoor enthusiast. The reality is that people who travel for outdoor activities can be old or young, single or married, male or female or nonbinary, gay or straight. Those characteristics aren’t influencing why or where they want to travel, but a desire to go on a hiking adventure does influence where they want to travel and what they are searching for online.
Now, keep in mind that an outdoor enthusiast isn’t just that. That outdoorsy person could also be an avid shopper and married. During the span of a year, they could be taking multiple trips for a variety of reasons. One trip they could be looking for shopping, another for hiking, and the next for a relaxing getaway. It’s the same person with different travel intents at different points throughout the year. If you are instead focused on the idea that millennials are more likely to travel for hiking, then you are missing out on a huge portion of other age groups looking to explore your destination.
Fill the gaps
After you’ve determined the traveler intents that fit best with what your destination has to offer, you can think about how you want to use these new intents to identify content gaps that need to be filled. You can use this to evolve your existing marketing efforts or inform future strategies.
It is important to think about traveler intents before layering on demographic data because intents are what drive decisions on where to travel and what to do there. It is also vital to consider diversity and inclusion when producing marketing creative and messaging. At Madden, we encourage our partners to consider the importance of inclusivity with ad creative and personalized website imagery. With that in mind, traveler intents are a foundational layer that should be considered while you build out the content and messaging on your website. We can carry this out in paid advertising efforts by keeping in mind the end goal of showcasing just how welcoming and diverse your destination can be. Traveler intents help us to not single out the individual by demographic but instead use layers of data to ensure we are delivering the most impactful message.
Madden challenges you to start thinking of your target audiences differently. Let our Traveler Intents tool help you reconsider your destination’s marketing mix based on your audience’s traveler intents.