A recent Adweek article from Julie Fleischer of Neustar touched on several key points for people-based marketing:

Are you targeting individuals or households? Unless you’re targeting age or gender, you’re better off targeting households than individuals. Here’s an example: It’s amazing how many marketers still target women instead of adults, as if only women are shoppers. Today, 40 percent of primary grocery shoppers are men, and the majority of households share grocery shopping chores.

Targeting only individuals misses a big portion of the grocery-shopping population. Worse yet, most purchase data is generated from shopper card data, which exists at the household level. But generalizing the data from individual to households requires a connection to the offline world (see prior question). Does your data capture this?

Finally, how many profiles are there? There are 220 million adults in the United States. If your data provider has 3 billion profiles, it isn’t marketing to people, it’s marketing to data points. The data stream that we rely on as marketers grows exponentially each year. Today, there are more IP addresses for devices than people. New ways of parsing, organizing and leveraging data will be invented that will make the media landscape even more addressable and exciting.