Audience Management

What is Audience Management?

It’s the ability to track your audience and customers, know who they are, what they like, how they behave, etc. Done right, it can allow a business to improve its relationship with its customers and potential customers. Businesses have been doing audience management forever. It’s probably one of the most critical aspects of a well run business.

One of the great things about the Internet is that its turns audience management from an art into a science. If you have one or more Internet channels for your business (websites, email campaigns, etc) you can do audience managment.

You can collect data from your customers with their permission. The simplest thing you can do is collect email addresses. Back in 1996, when Seth Godin walked me through the whole concept of Permission Marketing, i was sold. I invested in his company Yoyodyne and enjoyed an early taste of Internet-based audience management.

Most businesses with an Internet channel collect email addresses and use them to talk to their customers. But an email address just isn’t a lot of information about a customer or potential customer. You can ask them to volunteer more information about themselves. One of the best ways to do that is to force them to register. Online stores can do that as part of the checkout process. Non-commerce sites can do that by requiring registration. A lot of online publishers are adding forced registration as a way to improve their audience management.

But what do you do with all of this data? That’s where audience management systems come in. These systems allow you to database all of this information and use it to do interesting things with it. It’s a new emerging market with only a couple of companies selling audience management systems today. I am an investor in one of them, Tacoda Systems, which is the leader and creator of this market space.

Over time, I expect this market will turn into a very large and profitable business. Why? Because marketing is moving from a push/stupid model (buying super bowl ads) to a pull/intelligent model (Amazon knowing i like Dave Matthews and alerting me to his new album). This move is big and its happening in real time and will change the landscape of business as we know it. And audience management is central to this change.

I am interested in Audience Management because of my investment in Tacoda, but also because its a big deal. And i am going to write more about it. There’s a lot of exciting things happening in this market. So stay tuned.