My kids have no idea who Waldo is. But I sure remember him. I also remember the headache I’d get after five minutes of searching for his little red-and-white scarf and cap in a sea of tiny faces. Oftentimes, I’d give up, leaving poor Waldo lost on the page.

Connecting with your members can sometimes feel like a game of Where’s Waldo. But what if I told you there were now online tools that were the equivalent of putting a big red circle around Waldo?

Let’s explore that concept a bit with a question: Where are you right now and what are you doing?

If you answered “In Detroit, attending a major associations conference,” you should probably look to see if there’s a gigantic red circle around you. Well, there probably isn’t (and if there is we didn’t put it there), but in the online world, that circle definitely exists.

How were we able to pull this off?

The ability to “draw” these circles around specific groups online comes from the melding of big data and online ad platforms. We can now do real-time, location-based online ads, and we’re already seeing very meaningful advances in how finely and how sharply we can target ads. This ability may be the exact reason you’re reading this blog entry right now.

Want to have ads show up in just iOS 8 device apps within 5 miles of a specific location?

How about only on Android-based Web browsers within a specific zip code?

Increasingly, the answer to these and many more questions about time and location targeting is “Yes, we can do that.” And when your association combines real-time locations with email info, IP targeting info, social media affinities, and a whole pile of other online data types, one of two things will happen: either your association will have a powerful, cost-effective member outreach tool and strategy at the ready, or confusion will reign while your association tries this and that in fits and starts until everyone throws up their hands and declares the whole thing a waste of time and money.

If your association would rather be in the former camp than the latter, it can help to have a guide that knows the terrain. And that’s exactly what we offer at Visuality: folks who know the digital landscape and have already figured out how things work so you don’t have to go it alone.

So when you’re thinking about how best to use the explosion of online tools and techniques to reach and activate your members, contact us at Visuality to find out how we can help. We know where Waldo is…