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Colin Henderson

I think this is all backwards. Targetting suggests there are people wanting to be "shot".
Why not start with the product, the product evangalists, those who like the product? Does anyone like the product, is it any good? What are people saying about it online?



First, congratulations on your blog spot. I hope & trust you will focus on the mechanics of marketing rather than on the technology.

I broadly concur with your 1-2-3 step approach. I use a similar A-B-C-D approach which looks at:

A WHICH customers we have something relevant to talk to about - this accounts for 40% of the results in my calculations

B WHEN is the best time to talk to them about it - this accounts for 30% of the results

C WHAT offer should we make to them (this may be just information rather than a traditional offer) - this accounts for 20%

D HOW should we talk to them, including with which creative elements - this accounts for the final 10%.

Good marketing is a balance between talking AT customers with a product orientation (the traditional marketing approach, which is still legitimate) and talking TO & WITH customers (with as much of a customer orientation as marketing can muster).

Who should we be looking at as examples of this approach to marketing? Probably, the best is currently Capital One. But mobile telcos could be catching-up soon. Mobile telcos have the rare luxury of having information about which customers talk to which other customers (enabled by their products). They are thus in the position to be able to evolve marketing through social network analysis to bring customers talking to other customers in the marketing mix.

Graham Hill

PS. Congratulations on your new appointment to the CRMGuru Advisory Council

Chris Kenton

I'm curious how you see the advance of social media impacting the concept of "targetting". So much of traditional marketing is based on a pre-packaged message that is delivered--even when personalized--as a one-way transmission to an audience. Consumers are so fatigued with this approach and its abuses that we now have do-not-call lists, spam blacklists, Tivos which block out ads, etc. The current belief that increased "relevance" through behavioral targetting and personalization will break through that resistance is, well, kind of creepy.

As an avid cyclist, I recently bought a very expensive bike. I spent a lot of time researching the bike and visited maybe 100 web pages, including cycling discussion boards, blogs and reviews. By the time I decided on my purchase, I had visited the manufacturer's site only once, and there was only one piece of information I wanted from them: frame specifications. I didn't want to hear anything else they wanted to sell me or tell me about the bike. Everything I wanted to know about quality and performance I learned from other cyclists. Personally, I see this kind of purchasing behavior growing rapidly, and I don't see a lot of marketers addressing it. Will it eliminate targetted marketing? No. But there's clearly a changing dynamic that intersects with targetted marketing.

Dave Evans


Interesting pov on your bike purchase--and yes, quite typical.

I think the real issue is that *informed* consumers don't want to hear about "revolutionary patented formula XYZ," which of course is exactly what most marketing communicaitons (and manufacturers web sites) are filled with. The actual details--you mentioned frame specs--are often buried. Your point is well-taken: savvy consumers are arriving ready for business, not blather.

Most of the targeted approaches are still mired in Marketing 101, and worse are based on the outdated notion that big groups of customers are the same. With the degree of connectivity now supported in even casual social networks, individuals are not only addressable as such but actually expect it. Your research and resultant view of the role of the manufacturers web site is a case in point. You didn't need to be "targeted" -- you knew you wanted a bike, and you knew or figured out which model(s) best fit your personal application. The manufacturers (marketing) role was in support of your emerging choice: it's amazing how many marketers think this is (still) the other way around.

The real marketing these days occurs in operations (See Colin's comment above). Operations is where the customer experience is created, and it's the experience--not the ads--that customers talk about. Marketing no longer creates the experience--marketing supports the experience and the beneficial talk that follows. After all, that's how you found your bike, right? ;-)


What if by "targeting" we meant applying the right message at the right time? In the case of Chris' bike purchase, the right message would have been only about specs, and toward the end of your decision-making process. How would the manufacturer have known about you and where you were in your process? Well, if they were really into social networking, perhaps they'd be monitoring the biking blogs, and if you had visited their site once and they captured any information about you (via opt-in registration of course), perhaps they'd have sent you a follow-up asking what they could do to help your research. Dare I call this notion "social marketing"? Does it violate some unwritten rules of social networking? Since this is a topic I want to delve into more deeply, I think I'll "elevate" this to a main topic.

P.S. Graham, thanks for the good wishes.

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