Targeting diverse communities of voters as their share of the electorate grows is getting harder for media buyers, but one practitioner said the first part of the equation is actually fairly simple for 2024: Be sure you are hiring vendors who are “culturally competent.”
“I’m really sensitive to this, being one of the few Latinos in the space [to] run media and knowing how important specifically Latinos are to Democrats [getting elected],” said Tom Pino, who recently launched the paid media firm Polaris.
“Our job is pretty difficult because we’re in cities that are expensive,” he said. “We are younger or more diverse, and we can consume media a bit differently, so having better data [can make] targeting a bit easier.”
Now, Pino said he wasn’t too worried by states’ new data privacy laws, which in Colorado, Virginia and Connecticut have restricted the use of data on the ethnicity of residents.
He noted the landscape has changed many times, and pointed to how Google recently stopped allowing first-party match with its targeting.
“I think that’s where it’s really key to have have partners who are culturally competent, who understand the landscape and find a few different ways to reach people,” said Pino, whose last position before launching his firm was leading the digital media department at Democratic firm Rising Tide Interactive.
“There are unique properties to target different demographic groups,” he noted. “There are some overlaps, there are some run-throughs, so they’re not existing in a silo. It’s just you have to be able to use all of the tools in the toolbox to reach them.”
In a release announcing the new firm, Pino touted himself as a “hands-on keyboard TV buyer,” and said the new firm will specialize “in both television and digital.”
“I’m building a unique agency from the ground up with cross-screen in mind,” he said.
Ultimately, Pino added, it’s the media buyer’s job to “balance all those different things to match up with your audience, to match up with your creative and your messaging so they align.
“In general, media buying is not a sexy thing. It doesn’t really win races, but bad media buying can definitely lose races,” he said. “I do think it’s important to ask some real questions of your media strategist.”