This marketing campaign proves that knowing your customer is the secret to success

Ask any marketer, and they’ll tell you that knowing your audience is critical to campaign success. This knowledge informs the type of messaging they use, the channels they target and, of course, the content they create. But even a thorough understanding of their audience can hint at the best marketer.

Are you wondering if my tried and true tactics still work or do I need to change things up? Am I delivering the most optimal message to my audience or is there something better that I haven’t thought of yet? Am I reaching out too much or not enough?

To bring clarity to uncertainty, advanced marketers place immense value on their data. They work with trusted partners to gather information and research their customers. They study customer journey maps to identify critical touchpoints where their content will provide the most value. And they leverage real-time analytics to measure campaign success while adjusting tactics as needed. These are the marketers who spend so much of their career creating campaigns that disrupt and wow their audience, but who does the same for them?

On September 7, Mailchimp answered that question with its quirky and eye-catching Guess Less, Sell More campaign. This clever take on MailChimp’s “expert absurdism” is one of the most innovative visual campaigns of the year and proves that knowing your audience is key to ensuring the best result.

With 12 million customers, Mailchimp is considered the number one email and marketing automation platform on the market. On average, 500 million emails are sent by Mailchimp every day, and you can bet the organization is taking advantage of the insights the volume of emails can gather. With each email sent, the data pool increases. Mailchimp’s data is its biggest competitive advantage, yet too few marketers are even aware of its existence.

Mailchimp is known for its ease of use, but its advanced features, fueled by its abundance of data, aren’t always the first thing organizations think of when turning to the platform. For example, marketers who find themselves debating between subject lines can take advantage of Mailchimp’s Optimized Content feature. Gathering data from high-performing campaigns across industries, the platform suggests content changes based on what it predicts will perform best based on the information. This data also informs customer segmentation forecasts, allowing marketers to place audiences into different funnels within their email campaigns. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This is where the Guess Less, Sell More campaign comes in. The campaign features eye-catching visuals that bring together various common elements – for example, a cat, owl and bat combined into one or a sandwich that doubles as sandals. –in memorable, slightly odd creations. One of the goals of this campaign is simple: to stop viewers in their tracks. Mailchimp manages to capture and hold viewers’ attention with a campaign that stays true to the sophisticated yet humorous approach that’s signature of the Mailchimp brand. The delightful quirks depicted on posters, banner ads, and TV ads serve to quickly express the problem Mailchimp seeks to solve: “take the guesswork out of email marketing.” And whether you’re a solopreneur or a Fortune500 client, it’s a message that resonates.

But the deeper purpose of this campaign is where that idea of ​​”simple” is turned upside down. When a viewer moves past the initial disturbance these images invoke, they find themselves questioning their impression and searching for answers, and that’s exactly the point! Through a highly visual experience, Mailchimp recreates their target audience’s sense of uncertainty, letting them know they understand their pain while pointing to their platform as the solution.

Developed by Mailchimp’s in-house creative agency, Wink, this campaign illustrates the potential for creative work when developed with your audience in mind. After surveying their target audience, they quickly learned that even the most advanced marketers question their decisions. This overwhelming sense of uncertainty could be overcome with the right tools, but the right campaign would be needed to draw attention to those tools.

This customer-centric approach to content is currently favored by 58% of marketers today, but only 14% believe their organization as a whole makes customer-centricity a priority. If you’re a marketer hoping to achieve similar success and show the value of this approach, consider the gains from this campaign that you can replicate:

  • Show your clients that you truly understand their pain – Identify your customer’s pain points and develop content that doesn’t just tell your audience that you feel their pain, but rather shows it.
  • Provide visual content that stops them in their tracks – 91% of audiences demand visual content as a primary, secondary and tertiary form of information delivery from competing brands to grab their attention, yet 94% of first impressions are based on the design of this content. This means prioritizing production value in all the visual content you produce to get a great first impression every time.
  • Make sure your content works for a variety of channels – Create content that is versatile enough to show across all channels (offline and online) your target audience is on. In the case of this campaign, for example, the same images are used to create video ads, print ads in industry magazines, ads for New York Fashion Week where the most knowledgeable audience of Mailchimp, and more.

Michelle Taite, Mailchimp’s CMO, best summed up these tactics, saying, “When you look at our campaign, Guess Less Sell More, what most people might look at and think is ‘that’s the beloved. Mailchimp I know, “but if you back up a bit, you see the guessing devices are an interpretation of what inspired the campaign, which is our customers.”

When it comes to connecting with advanced marketers, delivering a campaign that is both unique and disruptive is a must. A simple look at the visual appeal of this campaign clearly shows respect for this truth. Taite said so when she concluded “As thought leaders in the field, we owe it to our audiences to come forward with the most groundbreaking, smart, and sophisticated marketing.”

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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