Q&A: Paul Notzold, group creative director, Aspen Marketing Services

Paul Notzold, group creative director at Aspen Marketing Services, a division of Epsilon, says good targeting is about building authentic experiences.

Q: I’ve heard it said that successful targeted marketing campaigns are a bit like guided missiles. What happens if the missile misses?

A: If your guided missile didn’t hit, then you probably didn’t do something right to begin with. For us, we work with multivariate testing, trying to figure out a catchall, depending on who we’re targeting and what the usage for the message will be. Guided missile — part of that plays into how integrated your campaign is. You need to be consistent across all mediums when you deliver that message. It’s about having solid communication across everything and understanding how you’re hitting your audience.

Q: What’s the best segmentation method?

A: Depending on who the target is, you start to frame the message and decide how to talk to them. I see product usage as important. If you teach a man to fish, he fishes for a lifetime. Another element in segmentation is what times the messages are hitting, especially with email. I have a 10-month-old, and if someone is targeting me because of that information, the best time to get me is after nine or 10 o’clock in the evening when I’m sitting with my computer on my lap watching television.

Q: How can mobile and digital marketers strike the right balance between targeting and privacy concerns?

A: It comes down to the experience you’re making for people and how you’re talking to them and making the experience feel more natural. Things are becoming more and more targeted as we’re tracking this collective unconscious more and more and seeing how people are behaving. We have the ability to get so granular.

Paul Notzold, group creative director at Aspen Marketing Services, a division of Epsilon, says good targeting is about building authentic experiences.

Q: How do target marketing and personalization go hand in hand?

A: Again, it’s building that experience focused on the user and the audience and then that experience becoming a story that fits into the life of the person, of what they’re doing, who they are and how they actually use the product, not necessarily how you want them to use it. It’s getting into that language — a lot of that has to do with truth and being truthful. People respond to that. If you’re truthful, it becomes more interesting for them to engage with you.

Q: Can you speak a bit about your work for the 2008 Obama campaign?

A: I started this project called TXTual Healing, which was my own communication platform where you could project onto buildings and allow people to engage with public space. The Obama campaign reached out to me. For the 10 days before the election, we went to different college towns in swing states and projected a question asking people to finish the phrase: ‘I’m voting because …’ It created a change in [the students’] routines of going to class and to and from their dorms and allowed them to think about finishing that phrase. Part of that conversation was conveying a different way of thinking about the message, and that it’s more than giving $10 to help out, but enabling you to be part of a community.

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