A few years ago i was a part of a small team that was tasked with creating a new television service from the ground up.

I was put in charge of the digital marketing end of things and it was a very exciting challenge for me.

We didn’t have a lot of marketing budget on our hands and it was crucial for us to find ways to effectively reach our audience and make an impact.

The brand in question

As mentioned before, The brand was for a monthly television subscription service.

The things that are unique to the brand and differ it from the competition were:

  1. OTT (Over the top) TV Service: The content is streamed to user over the internet. Other TV suppliers in our area at the time used satellite or cable to broadcast content.
  2. Hand picked content: live channels, movies, series, documentaries and children programming. We cut out all the long tail content and focused on whats important for most customers.
  3. Digital only self-service approach: No call centre, No technicians, No customer retention or telemarketing representatives. Only self service via the brands’ website.
  4. Low cost: The savings in operation costs are rolled to customers and they can enjoy a great T.V service in a relatively low monthly cost.

We quickly realised our service was very relevant for some audiences (Students, Young families, Cord cutters, …).

At the same time we knew our service was less relevant for older audiences who may not be able to install and operate the service themselves without the help of a call centre and field technicians.

Defining & Targeting our audiences

As every new player on the market we knew we were going to invest a lot of money on marketing.

Our budget wasn’t enough to reach all the users in our region and we had to find creative and cutting edge ways to reach our target audience.

We started to list our desired audiences and reasons why the service would be appealing to them.

  • Students:
    Want good and rich content from their provider.
    Can’t afford the premium providers.
    Younger demographic – used to doing things online.
    Willing to “trade-in” customer service for self-service and lower monthly cost.
  • Young families:
    Great variety of children programming is important to them.
    Usually a younger demographic who is used to doing things online.
    Starting a family is a financially sensitive time.
  • Moving in their first apartment:
    Younger people who are moving to their first apartment and are looking to save costs on monthly bills.
  • Tech savvy users:
    People who are excited about new technology.
    Would be able to install and operate the service on their own without the need for technicians or telephone support.
  • Young couples:
    Need great tv content, Don’t really need all the long tail content.

Targeting on different media platforms

There were a lot of media platforms we used to publish our ads.
And as mentioned, It was important for us to make an impact on our target audience.

Avoiding un-relevant audience was a second priority.
It was clear to us that users that are not ready for a fully digital, self-service product would have a bad experience with our service.

And so, it was also important for us to avoid bringing in irrelevant users.

On most digital media platforms would very easily target our desired audience by using the tools each platform offers.

Since our budget was limited and we could only rich each user about 2-3 times per month we’ve decided we need to go bold or go home.

How to sell management on a unique tone of voice

At first the idea of using this kind of “in-formal”, “slag” type of language in our ads and digital assets didn’t really sit well with the brands top tier management.

Most of the higher members of management wasn’t really in our target audience and they were a bit worried the brand would seem “not trustworthy” or “kidding around”.

We, As the members in the team that was leading the project were convinced this was the way to go.

It was obvious to us we had to do whatever we can to convince the higher management officials that the use of a unique, bold, fresh tone of voice would get us exactly the users we want.

The points we presented to the higher management officials were:

  • Using bold phrasing would enable us to capture our audiences’ attention
  • Distinct tone of voice would improve the marketing budgets’ effectiveness
  • It would generate positive reactions from the users we’re targeting
  • It would deter irrelevant users from joining the service

We had many meetings and presentations on the subject until we all came to the agreement to give it a go and see how it works for out for the brand.

How “tone of voice” got us just the right users

In order to make an effective impact on our users we’ve decided to use a very young and fresh tone of voice.

Sadly, I can’t quote most of the copy and exact phrases we used in our ads and digital assets because they were in Hebrew but you could get a general sense from the ones that were in english.

Some of the phrases we used were along the lines of:

  • “Let’s be friends!”
  • “Click to join, Click to disconnect”
  • “One box, loads of fun” (That one referred to the streaming device that was included with the service)
Unique, Fresh, Bold tone of voice.`
Design to make an impact on our specific target audience
Landing page mockup – Using the brands’ signature tone of voice

Using this unique and disruptive tone of voice was very distinct amongst our target audience.

Our competitors (and almost all other brands) ads we using a very “corporate”, “mature”, “legal” type of language.

That made our ads really stand out to younger audiences that were more used to this type of language from their day to day use of messaging apps and social media platforms.

We tried to address the users at eye level.
With simple and “spot on” phrasing,
As if they’re our friends and not as if they’re our clients.

At the same time, This kind of “in-formal” language seemed a bit inappropriate to older, more conservative users and they tended to skip it and not click the ads.

In essence – we tailored our language and tone of voice to suit the users we want to make an impact on.

Using a unique tone of voice – How did it work out for the brand?

Using a unique and distinct tone of voice worked really well.

We managed to make a strong impression on our target audience while “passing by” the users we didn’t want to attract at that point in time.

The impression on our target audience manifested in many different ways.

  • High CTR (Click Through Rates) on our ads by our target audience.
  • Relatively long average session duration on the landing page.
  • High engagement on the ads – likes, shares, comments, etc…

Over 65% of the traffic to our website was from exactly the users we wanted to bring in.

The websites’ conversion rate was substantially higher than we expected and the general feedback from users was very reassuring.

That in-turn lead to a very pleasing ROI (Return On Investment) of the marketing budget.

Summary & Conclusions

Designing a unique tone of voice that resonated with our target audience made a huge difference for the brand.

On one hand and it allowed the brand to bring in a very specific type of audience while on the other hand it deterred users whom the brand did not want to attract – Because the ads seemed “weird” and / or irrelevant to them

It allowed to brand to focus on specific audiences and provide them with a service that was tailor made for them.

The marketing budgets’ effectiveness exceeded all expectations.

In my opinion, This case proves language can be a very powerful targeting tool when used correctly and should be taken into account while planning a marketing strategy