Targeting the Right Market

This week’s focus is on testing and targeting the right message for the right audience.

The first of our readings featured a research study conducted for the city of Philadelphia for Developing Media Interventions to Reduce Household Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption. The city’s health department wanted to run an ad campaign to reduce consumption of sugary beverages by children in order to fight obesity. In order to make the campaign as effective as possible, the city wanted to know who specifically to target and how to do it. They began with a 30-minute telephone survey in the summer of 2010 of residents who were primary caregivers of children 3-16. The survey covered demographics, family eating patterns, availability of these beverages, and several other topics. With the information gathered, the city created a campaign that featured a single African-American mother and her son in television and transit ads, with the addition of a radio spot. (The transit ads featured questions that could be answered through text messaging.)

Overall, I was impressed with the time and effort applied to this campaign, although the long-term effects of it are lacking at this point. That a municipality – albeit a large one – would devote such resources to make their ads more effective is admirable.

The second article, Online Consumer Behavior: Comparing Canadian and Chinese Website Visitors, compared the online store user behavior between two very diverse cultures with the general premise that “customers surf a site if they perceive it as informative, useful, and entertaining.” And therein lies the challenge. First, you must create a site that is informative and still entertaining, but you must define each of those for each culture. The findings suggest “that website designers should use different techniques to increase visitors’ feelings of pleasure and likability of the website for Canadian and feeling of control over the website for Chinese customers”, and “Increasing customers’ attitudes toward the website can be considered as a competitive advantage” for services providers who target the control-oriented Chinese.

So, again, we see that investments in time and resources in targeting online marketing pay off. Is it more effective/realistic to build a message after studying a targeted demographic, or develop the message first and tailor it to a targeted demographic?



5 thoughts on “Targeting the Right Market

  1. I agree I think a bit of both is needed. A company can develop a rough draft for a message and then conduct the research and then tailor it to the audience. Perhaps tailoring it solely based on research might take away from what the campaign or product was originally planned for.

  2. I would say it’s more effective to build a message focused on your targeted demographic than it is to develop a message and then target it. By starting with the audience and building a message specifically for them, that targeting becomes an intrinsic part of the message your develop. If you keep your target audience in mind throughout the message development process, the message is much more likely to connect with that audience than if you develop a message and then try to aim it at a certain audience.

  3. If you could only choose one, I would learn about my target audience and then develop the message. Having some information on your target audience should give you enough (ideally) to create a great message. If the budget allows, then go for the copy testing, but researching your audience will be a larger benefit to you overall than just testing one message.

  4. Same as Emily… if I had to choose one I’d study my audience before I’d relay a message, similar to the theory “listen before you speak”. If you have a genius idea that’s never been done before and is hard to study… then you might have to study the message after.

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