Why You Shouldn’t Target Your Marketing: Target marketing fails
Targeted marketing, or the practice of aiming marketing collateral at specific prospects or customers, has become so prolific that it is one of the largest tools in the modern marketer’s toolkit. In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration lists targeted marketing as the third step in marketing implementation.
Imagine yourself attending the brainstorming session for your next marketing campaign or participating in one at a trendy advertising agency. Does anyone in the room ever verbalize the thought, “Let’s not target this campaign to anyone?” Of course not; they would be laughed out of the room.
However, simply targeting your marketing is not equivalent to being customer-centric, or customer-first, and this is where the majority of us go wrong. Aristotle hints at this in his master work, Rhetoric: “For it is not enough to know what we ought to say; we must also say it as we ought … ”
It is in the spirit of saying it “as we ought” that I humbly submit to you five steps that have the capacity to royally mess up your targeted marketing by not implementing it with a customer-centric approach.
Step #1: Target Just Your Intended Audience
Reality: We as marketers must recognize that, while our intended prospects and customers are included in our target group, by their very nature marketing messages will also be consumed by those who are not a part of that group. It is never customer-centric to offend another group while targeting your desired customer segment.
Step #2: Make Sure It’s Clever
Reality: In marketing, just because it’s clever doesn’t mean that its customer- centric. Don’t get so caught up in your own joke that you don’t realize that you are the butt of it. Bonus points should be awarded to the above ad on the right. This is a funeral service provider who encouraged its prospective customers to “off” themselves in the name of generating more business. While I concede that this is one way to increase demand, it certainly can’t be called customer-centric. After all, who is going to ensure that the deceased actually uses the service?
Step 3: Target Without Context
Reality: Never fear, context is here. Oh wait. No, it’s not. We as marketers must recognize that, once released into the wild, messaging can appear in many places, some more appropriate than others. Saying it “as we ought” includes “where we ought.” Putting a few minutes of thought into your customer’s journey, especially considering where they will be interacting with your brand, will make your messaging more customer-centric.
Step #4: Never Strive for Clarity
Reality: Clarity trumps persuasion. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words or pun; just make sure your customers are totally clear on your message. Ask these three questions in any campaign, from your customer’s perspective:
- Where am I?
- What can I do here?
- Why should I do it?
Make sure that you orient your customer to what they are seeing, and then instantaneously answer the second question through clarity. Any confusion will stop a customer cold. The last question is the most challenging, but the most crucial when it comes to driving conversion.
Step #5: When All Else Fails, Make It Free
Reality: Telling customers that something is free does not necessarily equate to messaging in a customer-centric way. I don’t know about you but I am certainly passing on osteoporosis, regardless of the cost of entry.
We all make mistakes. As some of us make them more often than others, my heart goes out to anyone associated with these examples. I offer my sincerest thanks for allowing us to learn from your experiences. For the rest of us, the next time you find yourself in that brainstorming session at a trendy advertising agency remember that simply targeting your marketing is not the equivalent to being customer-centric, or customer-first.
Aristotle: “For it is not enough to know what we ought to say; we must also say it as we ought … ”
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