Too much targeting

Share this content:
Too much targeting
Too much targeting

Is there such a thing as direct marketing that's too targeted to a customer's needs? Researchers at University of Pennsylvania certainly think so.

According to a story in The New York Times, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania shows that 86% of voters (er, survey respondents) don't want political ads to be targeted to them. Unemployed people don't necessarily only want to hear about candidates' employment policies and women don't only want to hear about candidates' stances on reproductive rights.

Like any branded campaign, political strategists get information about their potential donors, such as where they live and to which organizations they already give, in order to best serve them effective marketing messaging.

However, this study found that if political campaigns botch their messaging by being too targeted, candidates might not only lose out on potential money, but also votes. Sixty-four percent of the survey's respondents said their likelihood to vote for a candidate would be diminished by ultra-targeted marketing.

Perhaps political strategists and marketers could take a note from Zappos.com. The online shoe retailer, known for its obsessive concentration on company culture and customer service, used to “follow” customers around the Internet, serving up extremely targeted ads that showed exactly what items a customer had previously looked at. The idea was an innovative one: Serve up products customers were obviously interested in, and try to get them to return to the site and buy.

Darrin Shamo, director of direct and online marketing at Zappos.com, says that the response to this kind of ultra-sophisticaed targeted was very negative. People were creeped out by what Zappos  seemed to know, he says.

Even though none of that information was personally identifiable, customers weren't ready for that kind of marketing, he says.

So, Zappos dumbed down their targeted campaign, showing instead shoes and clothing similar to, but not exactly like, what the customer had already viewed on the site.

The result? A way lower creep-out factor. And happier customers.

Are you listening, Barack and Mitt? Broad-based messaging might be the way to go.

DMNotes is DMN's around-the-clock blog. Yes, a blog in 2016.

Bookmark this section and follow our RSS Feed here

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above