Targeted Marketing – Two Sides To This Coin

Marketing to specific groups of customers, or Targeted Marketing is one of the most key models in marketing. Marketers, over years, have identified who their customers are and directed their energies at influencing their buying decisions. That is their job!

Content has disrupted our world in multiple ways. No longer do mass marketing techniques and advertising give the same result as in the olden days. Today it is all about personalisation and contextualization to deliver marketing objectives. Customers have voted for a personalised approach that acknowledges their individuality. However, many have grumbled since these methods can become pushy (a lot of privacy concerns) and counterproductive when they appear in the wrong place or at the wrong time.

Why Target Your Market?

From the time online banner advertising started, a generation of marketers has been trained in the power of Targeted Marketing with customer behaviour being the base. Those marketers live and breathe focussed data while advocating the value of pre-packaged customer segments.
Marketing is moving rapidly toward personalisation. Handheld devices have made this trend not only possible but also inevitable. This means that behaviour isn’t the Holy Grail as claimed by many. Obviously, it is much more valuable to know who your customer is, rather than to draw interpretations from their most recent behaviour?
The ascent of Big Data has resulted in marketers getting an insider’s view of detailed behavioural and purchasing patterns prevalent among definitely targeted customer segments. Marketers, now, have abundantly large sets of information to study and convey the perfect message to every individual customer.

With preferences shifting to a user-oriented position, brands are building better relationships with their target customer audiences, which in turn has eventually led to an improved return on sales and enhanced overall reputations. According to a DemandGen study, brands using Targeted Marketing have shown a 20% growth in sales.
Ultimately, however, this can’t just be about numbers… It’s about building relationships and bringing forth products and/or services that have people in mind.
Mobile Marketing is a prominent illustration of an industry that uses the influence of contextual marketing to push for greater success. As the industry is thriving and competition is aggressive, mobile marketers need an extra edge.
Targeted Mobile Marketing has aided cultivate precisely targeted ads since circa 2011. An eMarketer study found that the click-through rate (CTR) for contextualised ads is nearly triple that of non-contextualised banner ads.

Since the approach attempts to stimulate a deeper understanding of mobile users within specific segments, marketers can create ads to suit each individual, showing only content and/or apps relevant to their location, interests, and definite needs. Marketers can use geolocation tactics to step up their game as 74% of mobile users turn on their location-based services.
There are quite a few app-discovery platforms that pave the way in making ads more aligned with user experience. Hence such platforms naturally fit precise user behaviours and become app content extensions. With this approach, the platforms maintain transparency and contextual benefits for the customer segments.
Now, we have come to the conclusion that contextualisation is becoming increasingly on-demand and it does it have its set of benefits for both the marketer and the customer. However, we also need to consider its dark side and how it could go too far as to impede marketing efforts.

What Can Go Wrong?

 Targeted Marketing may not be the best approach for smaller size organisations that intend to grow in their market. This approach, due to its nature, will result in limited growth in the market. It also takes a substantial amount of time to identify a target customer audience, research and analyse gathered data and develop marketing campaigns to reach them. Most organisations use the market segmentation approach to define their target customers. Market segmentation involves developing customer profiles from demographic data. Marketers then determine if their target audiences are large enough from which to earn significant profits.

Personalised ads and contextualised recommendations can be scary. The creepiness factor kicks into high gear when a customer (read person) feels that marketers know them better than they expected (or than he or she wanted them to). That uncomfortable reaction also appears when people overlook they have voluntarily disclosed personal information to receive a freebie or coupons or a newsletter or to sign up for a service.

With advancements in technology, Big Data, AI technologies and analysis will increasingly improve at determining customer behaviour and forecasting activities.


Marketers have to evaluate if their strategy and approach are effective or alarm their customers. Marketers will have to utilise the available technology to interact with customers in a manner that will keep them abreast about how they are using their information. Marketers should keep reminding their customers of available and accessible information at regular intervals. They should constantly update permissions on (customers’) comfort levels to utilise the information for special offers or targeted ads.

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