Rocking the Vote


When DRTV marketers discuss media attribution, they often think about it in television terms first, since TV is thought to be the largest mass media funnel for creating awareness and interest. Data analysts then attempt to follow TV-generated prospects as they use their second screens to go online to learn more about what’s being advertised. The most powerful attribution models claim to be able to follow a particular shopper along a path that includes various media touchpoints, with the end game of making that person into a bona fide lead or outright purchaser.

But what if you could reverse the process? What if you could find prospects online and then—after identifying who they are—serve targeted TV ads back to them to further stir their interest? Well, that proposition is exactly what iBOXdigital, a data-driven digital agency based in the greater Philadelphia area, is doing.

How is this possible? According to iBOXdigital managing partner Chas Kutchinsky, the company’s platform accesses a proprietary database that includes more than 17,000 attributes based upon intricate, robust voter data. Another layer leverages information related to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Individuals can choose to add their own data to the mix, or test the platform’s accuracy without revealing personal information. Either way, Kutchinsky says, the platform can pinpoint demographic and psychographic characteristics such as household income, ethnicity, media consumption habits, and more. No names are required, ensuring privacy.

Unlike media planning that attempts to buy concentrations of a target audience based upon programming environments, iBOXdigital uses programmatic buying to serve up TV ads to households that have expressed an interest in a marketer’s proposition. “We target the customer, not the context,” Kutchinsky explains, “and are able to find 80 percent of the lead pool that originally ‘raised their hand’ online while they are watching TV.”

To prove this, iBOXdigital offers a free, no-risk data analysis and, after profiling a marketer’s lead mix, offers automated media buys served up via set-top boxes to target prospects individually. “Our aim is to create intent,” he says. “That is, intent to get interested consumers to take the specific action an advertiser wants them to take.”

What are you doing to ensure you’re a serious candidate?

These principles can also be applied to retargeting efforts online in the form of pre-roll ads and similar tactics, creating an ecosystem in which advertisements don’t just follow prospects around the Internet, but across all screens. When it’s important to drive brick-and-mortar retail sales, ads can be concentrated geographically in the areas or even the aisles where a product is available. According to Kutchinsky, the cumulative impact of these efforts can be a campaign lift of as much as 30 percent.

What truly sets iBOXdata’s proposition apart is a voter-centric database, powered by Audience Partners. Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns were aided immeasurably by big data like this. They defined the grassroots by appealing to voters on an individual level online and then marketing to them aggressively, converting prospects into true proponents of the candidate’s message of “Hope.” Once onboard, the believers used social media to outflank the other side. The end result—as the saying goes—is history.

What marketer wouldn’t want to take advantage of a similar opportunity to leverage such a robust data set? Well, the fact is that this requires no small measure of squinting to understand—unlike, say, a Donald Trump soundbite. The data can be confusing or even wearying. Yet, as it becomes increasingly clear that the old DRTV-driven model doesn’t cut it in an omnichannel world, propositions such as this are worthy of consideration and testing.

As the current presidential election cycle unfolds, the ability of campaigns to effectively target voters with messaging using data will be of paramount importance. And the situation is no different for marketers who wish to win consideration from potential patrons in new and innovative ways. Both should ask the same question: What are you doing to ensure you’re a serious candidate?

Rick Petry is a freelance writer who specializes in direct marketing and is a past chairman of ERA. He can be reached at (503) 740-9065 or online at and @thepetrydish on Twitter.