Every day, audience targeting capabilities within digital media channels become more advanced, allowing brands to reach the right audience, in the right setting, at the right time. And although such specific targeting tends to generate higher quality traffic, it’s easy for digital marketers to forget that a consumer’s biggest influence can oftentimes be  found offline: the spouse.

The Gallup Management Journal performed a study in which they found nearly 50% of respondents claim their spouse has the most influence over their decision for which companies, brands and products to use. In fact, they were five times as likely to rely on spouses than any other influence. So what does this mean for data-driven marketers? When advertising a brand, product or service typically associated with one gender, avoid narrowing the audience to only that gender. Instead, test a few variations of your digital media ad groups to also target the opposite sex. Be sure to include messaging that speaks directly to that audience and how your products or services relate to them. Demographic targeting makes it easy to reach only men or only women. Plus, if you’re looking to specifically reach spouses of your target audience, some social networks – such as Facebook ads – allow advertisers to target by relationship status.

The study also had some interesting findings in terms of social engagement and its impact on social strategy. Engaged customers are more likely than actively disengaged customers to interact positively with a brand and to work on the brand’s behalf within their own social networks. Of the fully engaged customers, 74% reported engaging their social networks in a positive way toward a brand, service or product, with no negative social engagement. On the other hand, just 1% of actively disengaged customers reported any kind of positive social networking engagement, while 14% had negative engagement with a brand, service or product.

The findings from the second half of this study provide a stark reminder that new business initiatives don’t necessarily come first, although it’s easy to fall into that trap. Instead, there needs to be a healthy balance between prospecting and continuously working to improve the customer experience.