By Barbara Fowler
Niche-marketing: Creative or Creepy? It depends.
Yesterday I got a package in the mail. A mysterious package from Klout. I opened it up and low and behold, it contained three new products sent to me on a complimentary basis. They were VITA-K for Âage spotsÂ, VITA-K for ÂcrowÂs feetÂ and VITA-K for Âdeep facial linesÂ I was selected to receive these products because of my Klout score of 56, not because of my age (I just turned 60) and hopefully not because of some new Âfacial recognition softwareÂ that identified me as someone in great need of these products.
I signed up for Klout over a year ago. For those of you not in marketing or not familiar with it, Klout purports to measure my ÂinfluenceÂ on the web and in social media. It gives each of us a score between 1-100 with 1 being no influence-basically incognito on the web (like my husband Tim, without a LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social account-although he does now have e-mail) and 100 (Barack Obama is a 99)
So, I am above the middle. in fact, somewhere in the 75-90 percentile. That is really not important because this post is about niche-marketing, not about Klout.
But think about what this skincare company did to market their new product.
They went to Klout and asked for people above a certain score. Then they must have also asked for some other things-gender, age, possible income, geographic location etc to further target their offering. I donÂt know the specifics. I actually have no relationship to this company or this product. But I represent a Âbuyer personaÂ. More importantly, they think, based on my score, that I am more likely to talk about receiving this product and trying it. They donÂt know if I will like it or not. Or maybe, they cross-referenced their offering with some sort of other weird algorithm that says I usually only review products I really like. (My mother taught me ÂIf you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.Â)
In the past, to gain a market, this company would have considered magazine ads in places like, ÂGood HousekeepingÂ or ÂThe Ladies Home JournalÂ or maybe ÂAARP Â magazine. They would have looked at TV ads for ÂGolden GirlsÂ or ÂThe Rockford FilesÂ. How much would that have cost? That was marketing back then.
This is marketing today. It has changed. First, because there is so much information available on the web so I can do all of the research I want in advance of a purchase. And second because of the availability of data. Instead of marketing to a broad range of people-like all of those who read a magazine-companies can market to a much smaller group of people who are more likely to buy their product. The art and science of acquiring a customer base has been reinvented.
And this is not just about this product. A recent WSJ article shared how the Weather Company (formerly the Weather Channel) was helping companies pick their advertising spots. The Weather Co, supplies weather information to several smart phone apps. And now, it uses its data to help companies advertise. So, for example, if a woman is checking her weather app in Boston and it calls for rain, the advertisement shown might be for an anti-frizz product for her hair. If it calls for very hot temperatures in Atlanta, then the advertisement might be for a sale on air conditioning units. Micro-targeting then is not just based on buyer personas but also on many other variables. Effective targeting can really reduce costs and increase revenue
So, what about me? Was this effective? When I told people I had received the anti-aging product this morning, several asked if I was offended or if I though it was creepy? Not me. I was intrigued. I have already tried them and although I canÂt be sure yet, I think that I might pass for no more than 59.
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