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Reaching Target Audiences via Data Anthropology

It was critical to us to execute a data-driven campaign. APCO was our chosen partner, there every step of the way – from initial research through to content execution – so the approach was smart and strategic.

Jeff Richardson

Vice President and Group Head, Marketing & Communications VantageScore

Pivoting to New Consumer Audiences

As a credit scoring company founded by the three major credit reporting agencies, VantageScore Solutions (VantageScore) historically communicated directly with lenders and direct-to-consumer credit score websites. VantageScore knew that to address new challenges in the rapidly changing credit score market, it needed to expand its historic focus on B2B communications by incorporating B2C communications activities and directly engage consumers. Because credit scores have become a consumer product and nearly ubiquitous to every adult over the age of 18, VantageScore knew credibility and awareness was crucial to its success.

To accomplish this consumer pivot, they partnered with APCO to develop a data-driven, digital-first campaign. APCO initiated this engagement by understanding VantageScore’s place in the market, relevant consumer opinions and audience psychographic data. Embarking on a three-phased research strategy of digital landscape analysis and audience segmentation research, focus groups and consumer surveys was crucial to informing a smart strategy, assess messaging and identify tactical executions.

Flipping the Funnel

APCO’s strategists are students of data anthropology, analyzing content consumption and research data to understand stakeholder behavior. This allows us to get to know potential targets – what we call “tribes” – to determine how the people who consume content the most within a potential target group feel about brands and messages. As a result, we are able to map cognitive bias, understand barriers to trial and identify the specific elements that drive brand awareness and perceptions of corporate reputation.

VantageScore recognized the limits of attempting a traditional consumer campaign with limited resources and suspected that the traditional marketing funnel was not going to be a practical approach. By integrating traditional research with digital analysis and audience segmentation, we flipped the traditional model on its head: instead of broadcasting our message to a broad audience, we put data anthropology into practice, using digital listening and traditional opinion research to identify consumers who would be most likely to advocate for the brand – and tap into their networks to influence others, too.

This resulted in the development of four specific tribes each paired with a specific and unique content and channel strategy for optimal engagement. By developing engaging motion graphics, educational blog posts and strategic influencer partnerships with each tribe in mind, we were equipped to move the needle of awareness among consumers.

Getting Credit

Only six months after implementing the data-driven campaign, APCO conducted a follow-up national consumer survey to support and refine the campaign, as necessary. This survey measured the image of VantageScore, unaided and aided advertising awareness, ad message pull-through and preference for a VantageScore credit score. The results showed overall awareness of VantageScore increased by six percentage points among consumers, while awareness of the company’s primary competitor and other credit score organizations remained unchanged. Even more, awareness of the brand’s messaging increased by 15 percent among the four identified audiences and these groups were more likely to engage with VantageScore’s content, indicating that through data anthropology, we ultimately identified and reached the right target audiences in a cost effective, efficient way.

From the Campaign