Friday, December 19, 2008

Relationship Targeting: Know Your Customer

I'm always amazed when I stand in front of 170 young advertising students and talk about targeting for the first time.

Largely, this is lost on them. Sad, really.

Matching your brand to a small group of consumers may be the most important thing that you ever do.

My lab has done a lot of research of brand personalities, and to me the fascinating bit is just how easily people assign personalities to inanimate brands.

Right now I'm working on an exciting new project with Tim Laubacher. We're using Darwin's principles of natural selections to find out just what personality is attached to a given brand. More on this in coming months (read more on the underlying principles here).

What do targeting and personality have in common? Tailoring your target market. Sure, my last post blasted Burger King for too narrow a target, but most companies aren't Burger King.

In the Dec. 8, 2008, Advertising Age, there is an article amazingly buried on page 4.

Under Jack Neff's byline, "That 80% of sales comes from some 2% of buyers; Study: Package-goods brands' consumers bases very small, yet diverse."

Think about that. Two percent of all buyers make up the lion's share of your sales.
Numbers like those start to make a strong case for broader use of customer-relationship management among package-goods players who've questioned its applicability because of the high cost per consumer.
This means that even the narrowest of traditional markets are likely to fail. This small yet diverse bit is tricky.

Tools such as the one that I am developing with Laubacher will allow real-time diagnostics of a brand's multiple personalities. We can uncover these niche markets.

And then the real work actually begins. How do we reach these people when mass media will terribly overshoot and overspend. Then, how do we keep them among our 2%.

As Neff correctly identifies, relationships are the key. And compatible personalities are key to relationships. Think of this as a brand version of eHarmony: 29 dimensions of compatibility.

And you have to be careful not to drift. Once you establish your brand personality, you have to remain true to it. Google used to be one of my absolute favorite brands, but today I referred to them as the "Wal-Mart of the Web" due to their control of some of the features of this blog (Google owns Blogger).

I'm impressed with some corporate efforts on Twitter (e.g., @Starbucks). However, following 21,355 people (at present), this is more like a casual hook up than a committed relationship.

It's a great time to study communications. I'm counting the days until the word "Mass" is toppled from the front of my college like a statue of Lenin or Hussein.

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Blogger Leah Fo Shizzle Bizzle said...

can you expand on google being "the wal-mart of the web"?

i love google.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Samuel D. Bradley said...


I promise to write an entire post about absolute power corrupting Google in the new year.

Makes me sad. Google is a Lovemark of mine.

2:49 PM  

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