The Beginner’s Guide to

People-Based Marketing

Let’s face it. The days when advertisers could reach the masses over evening television are long gone. The proliferation of internet devices has caused the media landscape to explode into a bunch of fragmented channels, and audiences are now scattered far and wide. There are now more ways than ever to reach today’s consumers, and advertisers have taken full advantage of this trend. The average consumer is hit with 5,000 marketing messages each day. As a result, consumers have gotten pretty good at filtering them out. Cutting through the noise requires a new strategy for delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. That strategy is called people-based marketing.

What is People-Based Marketing?

People-based marketing (PBM) is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a marketing strategy built around people – specifically the people who are most likely to care about your product or service and convert into your customers. On the opposite spectrum is the “spray and pray” marketing approach. Spray your message far and wide and pray that you’re covering ground where your customers are. 

The problem with this approach, is that, while you may have a large reach, most of your ad dollars are wasted reaching the wrong people. PBM leverages big data insights  to learn how your customers consume media and how to engage them – wherever and whenever they are actively paying attention. In a nutshell, a people-based media plan focuses the media budget on ready-to-buy audiences, while reducing wasted ad dollars on audiences who are less likely to convert

How Does People-Based Marketing Work?

Big Data is at the heart of people-based marketing. PBM marketers leverage data management tools and technologies that combine first-party data with additional third-party data insights to build an identity graph of your customers. You can then match the identity graph to media publishers’ inventories to serve ads to audiences who are in the market for your product or service. 

While data may be the heartbeat of a people-based approach, it’s only as reliable as a company’s ability to collect it, analyze it and make it actionable. That’s where data management tools come into play.

There are a ton of data management tools to choose from, but it’s important to note that not all systems and platforms are created equal. The right data management tools can make or break your PBM strategy, so it’s important to shop wisely. Wingman Media’s Audience Management Platform, haloAMP™ is one such tool with proven success. haloAMP™ helps our media planners make the most informed media selections for a winning people-based marketing strategy.

How PBM Turns Big Data Into Actionable Insights

How Data Management Systems Process 1st Party Data into Actionable Insights for People Based Marketing.

Remove Data Silos

AMP collects your customer data across multiple silos, such as offline contact data and online response metrics. This data is stored in a centralized location where you can match it with third party data to create rich customer profiles.

Anonymize Data 

A universal identity link, or persistent identifier, is assigned to each profile. This step makes personally identifiable information (PII) anonymous before you share your data with downstream data partners.

Enrich  Data 

Anonymized audience segments are matched with media consumption data and additional signal data from third-party data providers. This data reveals deep insights into your audiences’ media habits across every channel, screen and device.

Purchase Media

Use the enriched audience segments to buy inventory across the media channels and formats that reach your most relevant audiences wherever they are paying attention.

How is PBM Different from Traditional Media Planning?

The key difference between traditional targeting and people-based targeting is the quality of the data. The most common forms of old-school audience measurement include market ratings for broadcast media  and website cookies for digital media. A people-based approach, on the other hand, leverages deep data insights from REAL people who buy from you.  Let’s take a deeper look at the types of data used in both of these strategies.

Old School Audience Insights 

1. Market Ratings

Market ratings or “legacy ratings” limit targeting to demographics, such as age range and gender. Nielsen Company has had a monopoly on the market ratings business since the 1950s.  The data is aggregated from small samples of panel-based audiences which only represent a tiny fraction of the population.

Because age ranges within a demo are so broad, the individuals within these segments typically share very few behaviors, interests, and motivations. Despite these limitations, market ratings are still used in the majority of media transactions for broadcast television and terrestrial radio and many digital campaigns.


web cookie

2. Website Cookies

Website cookies are small packets of data stored on a user’s computer when visiting a website. They are used to identify returning web visitors and to track behaviors such as website browsing and online purchase decisions. They’re a form of device-based targeting because cookies provide data on a single, non-mobile device like a desktop computer.

PBM –  The New School Strategy 

A people-based marketing strategy takes the guesswork out of targeting because it leverages insights from the real people who care about your message – your customers. Advertisers are thus able to target their most valuable audiences across multiple platforms with granular precision. PBM leverages first and third-party data to narrow your target and focus on your most relevant audiences.


First-Party Data

First-party data is the data you collect directly from your customers, Thus it provides advertisers with some of the most valuable insights to target your key audiences. Here are a few examples of first-party data:

  • CRM data
  • POS and other transactional data
  • Lead lists
  • Offline customer data
  • Website user data


Third-Party Data

Third-party data is sourced from companies that don’t have direct relationships with consumers. It generally  comes from big data aggregators like Axciom and Infogroup who license the data to marketers. These companies collect all sorts of valuable data signaling purchase intent which can be layered onto your first party data to create high value lookalikes.  Signal data comes in many forms such as shopping behaviors, customer loyalty memberships, credit card data and media consumption data like website browsing behaviors.


Why Should Advertisers Care about PBM?

People-based marketing helps foster better relationships with your customers by creating seamless one-to-one experiences with your brand across all channels. This is essential in marketing because consumers are now demanding more personalized and meaningful interactions with brands they do business with. PBM allows brands to meet consumer demands for a seamless omni-channel customer experience across every engagement touch point in the buyer’s journey.

The biggest benefit of people-based marketing is that it avoids wasted ad spend by reducing the number of impressions spent on audiences with low engagement. A PBM approach uncovers the best messaging and media channels for driving conversions. These insights guide media buyers to purchase inventory in channels offering the greatest reach with the people who care about your message and are ready to buy from you.