Target Practice: The Evolution of Target Marketing

Have you ever seen a commercial, billboard or online advertisement and thought that the brand or product was talking directly to you? This is no coincidence. Marketers use target marketing to specifically target their products at an identified segment. Marketers realise that there is no point in advertising a product for little girls in a Men’s Health magazine. In a nutshell, target marketing is concentrating your marketing efforts in the right places and getting the product/brand information to the right people.

Marketing was not always like this however, not so long ago marketing consisted merely of placing an ad in the newspaper or magazine, or having a commercial on TV with no real thought about who the product was targeting or how to reach the right segment (Kerr, M ND). This was likely because of the way people were back then, dependable and predictable. The average adult male would get married and get a career and work in the same industry for 30 years then retire. The average women would get married and stay at home raising the kids and doing the housework, as were the times. How things have changed! More and more women have joined the workforce and people change jobs like they change clothes, but what does this mean for marketers?

This change in society has meant that consumers have become less predictable and far less dependable and never before has brand loyalty been so important, and never has the market been more saturated with products and advertising making marketing more difficult than ever before. So how have marketers dealt with these changes? The answer is through the evolution of target marketing. Marketers have had to become smarter and more accountable. Marketers now have to research the best ways to reach their target market and use their resources more effectively. Marketers are now able to speak and connect directly with their desired audience through social media and email making the relationship between marketer and consumer closer than ever before.

Social networking has been growing at an accelerating pace, which has had major implications for marketers (Anthony et al 2007, p.6). With so much data being made through these social networking sites, marketers now must do more research than ever to ensure that they are using the correct channels and reaching their desired audience. It has never been easier for businesses to measure campaign effectiveness and as such marketers have never been more accountable for their work.

It has been such a rapid change and evolution for marketing over the last 30 years and even the last decade in particular with the rise of social networks. Where will we be in 2025? 2040? What new strategies will marketers come up with to reach their target market? It is such an exciting time to be involved with marketing and who knows, it could be the people posting in this Marketing Management blog who come up with the next big marketing idea, which makes many of the existing strategies obsolete!

Click the link below to see a fun take on the evolution of marketing!

– Mason Thorn


Kerr, M ND, ‘What is Target Marketing’, retrieved 29 March 2015, <;

Anthony, J, Budden, C, Budden, M & Jones, M 2007, ‘Managing The Evolution Of A Revolution: Marketing Implications Of Internet Media Usage Among College Students’, College Teaching Methods & Styles Journal, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 5-10, retrieved 29 March 2015, <;



Competing solely on price is a recipe for disaster!! Why???? Well for one………….

2 Retailers today, generally want to position themselves as the cheaper option. They believe if they sell their products at the lowest price possible, without incurring losses, they will maximize profits and even increase their market capital. Fair enough. This may work for larger retailers like Coles and Woolworths but not for small businesses!! Small retailers and new companies must always bear in mind, larger and more established entities can often choose to lower their prices to create an unfair market advantage or simple barriers of entry. 5 What does this mean? Well put simply regardless of how low you go, your larger competitors more often than not will aim to match your prices and are in a better position to do so. In some cases such entities are willing to forgo potential income such to price out the smaller completion. Larger retailers have the advantage of economies of scale. Their size alone allows them to control key variables along their supply chain, coupled with large volumes of sales, which enables them to realize large end of year profits from small profit margins per product. Small business cannot compete on this level. This is a “big boy’s game”. The advantages of economies of scale are only reserved for the elite few. Remember when your mother told you, that you were told small to play with the big kids, because you might get hurt? 6 Well this is the same principle for small retailers trying to lower the price of their products and services in competition with larger retailers. This may seem successful in short run, once the market catches wind on the advertised savings/discounts. However the increase of sales is usually attributed to the influx of bargain shoppers and not loyal customers. Building a brand solely on solely on low prices, erodes customer loyalty. As soon as competing retailers undercut your prices, your customers vanish. Why – because what got customers through your doors was marketing promoting low prices and not product/service value. Your business was not based on consumer loyalty, rather loyalty to a lower price. The hungry dog always goes to the person carrying the biggest bone! So how do i compete with the giants you ask? The same giants who are increasing their “market cap” by dangling lower prices to a bargain hungry economy? 7 Throw competing to offer the lowest prices – out the window! Let your strategy be solely based on providing value! Going back to the hungry dog analogy, if the dog is loyal too you and derives some sort of value from you, chances it will come to you, no matter how big the bone the other person is carrying!! Let’s think about it for a second. Do we send our children to the cheapest doctors we can find? Do we build our family homes with the most reduced building material?  Do we only consider the buying a motor vehicle if it’s the cheapest on the market? Do we choose our education based on the most discounted courses? Definitely not!!! Why – because humans naturally seek value!!!! People are willing to pay for quality! But frankly – We like nice things and if we perceive value in them we are usually more than willing to pay extra for them! tTim Donnelly a freelance writer and managing director of, gives the following example of consumer’s willingness to pay for value: “In a famous video clip from Penn and Teller’s Showtime hidden camera show, diners are lured to an upscale restaurant branded as the world’s first boutique vendor of bottled water. A water steward presents each table with a menu discussing the finer qualities of water purportedly shipped in frome dmountains and streams all over the world, some of which cost as much as $8 a bottle. Of course, the joke is on the customers because all the water actually came from the garden hose out back, but the message was clear: People are willing to pay more for a product if they think it gives them a truly special or significant value—and if you present it to them in just the right way. Your company is probably selling a stuff that’s a lot more valuable than fancied-up hose water. Selling on value, not price, involves a balance of confidence, personal rapport, and doing your homework, and it’s become more difficult as technology gives consumers greater access to price information and competitors” (Donnelly, PUBLISHED ON: JUL 20, 2011, How to Sell on Value Rather Than Price, Retrieved from ). Adopting the value approach shields you from competitors who are continuously reducing their prices to gain customers. Value builds loyalty – being cheap….just means you’re cheap! So how do we create value???????

Tanaka Musiwa – In collaboration with Colin Kane.

Consumers behaving charitably?

By S. McNamara & E. Doxey

Are charities keeping up with online consumer trends?

In an era of dramatic cuts to foreign aid and government support, Not for Profits (NFPs) find themselves competing more than ever for the support of individual donors. NFPs adopt various ways of distinguishing themselves in the market and of encouraging consumer behavior, increasingly involving heart-wrenching pleas on behalf of individuals in need.

So what is the best way to get consumers to open their wallets?

Recently an anti-poverty charity attempted to promote more positive imagery in a campaign – a huge move away from their traditional heart-breaking images. The amount of fundraising decreased – by about 20%! (They’ve since gone back to the tear-jerking pics).

In a series of experiments, it was found that people are much more responsive to charitable pleas that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary, than they are to statistical information about the scale of the problem being faced.’[1]

World Vision and Oxfam continue to use more traditional approaches to seeking donations by appealing to our philanthropic side. Newer NFPs, like Kiva have tapped into the younger generation, with smaller amounts to contribute, a “loan” system where you are effectively a financial investor, with a personal stake in following the project. Check out their campaign missions on youtube:

So, over to you.

How do you choose where to donate?  What can a charity do to appeal to you? How much of your giving is planned and how much is spontaneous or in reaction to a direct request?

Look at the sample advertisements below. Click on the one you think you’d be most likely to support.



[1]; accessed 27 March 2015


How our brain determines if the product is worth its price

Remember the last time you went shopping?

You knew the product you wanted to buy and how much the product would cost you. Was your decision affected by whether you saw the price or the product first?

According to Uma R Karmakar”considering the price first changed how people thought about the decision process and whether it changed the way the brain coded the value of the product” Karmakar says as they have neuroscience tools at their disposal they had the benefit of exploring both the questions.

Researchers say viewing the price first(price primacy)makes the customers think whether the product is that useful and really needed to be bought. Researchers would help marketers “decide when it is the best to lead with price, which products work best with that strategy and how to frame sales messages to customers


In a series of exercises, participants were made to lie down on an fMRI “(Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine and were taken shopping. The fMRI uses a giant elect magnetic and often 3teslas strong which can be used to track the blood flow throughout the brain as subjects respond to sensory cues. Here, participants were responding to both pictures of the object and their prices.

The first experiment was conducted at an imaging centre at the Stanford University campus, participants were given $40 before viewing a series of products and their prices on a screen inside the fMRI. According to Karmaker,this technique made the shopping experience more real. 

Some participants saw the product first while a few saw their price first, but they saw an image of both the product and price together. At this particular point they choose whether they need the product or no, with a push of a button.

Researchers were more interested in the “medial prefontal cortex which id the area in the brain that deals with estimating decision value and nucleus accemben area that is the pleasure centre, and activity is correlated with whether a product is desirable.

Researchers tell us that the brain activity varied to whether the subject had seen the price or the product first. According to Karmaker”The pattern of activity in the prefrontal cortex suggested to us that sequence matters: At the very simplest, the neural signals looked different when the price came first versus when the product came first,” When the subject sees the product first the question in his mind is “Do I like it” and when he sees the price first the question is to be “Is it worth it”

This tells us that price viewing first does not have a effect on actual purchasing behaviour. Subjects bought the same number of items and reported similar “liking” ratings whether they had seen a product or the price first.

Karmaker says “If you really love something and you can afford the product you are going to buy it” and those kinds of easy decisions it does not matter whether the product or the price comes first. Karmaker team wanted to show that their “research could have real world implications for retailers” direct effect on whether a consumer decided to buy the product.

Karmaker says “The question is not whether the price makes a product seem better, it is whether product is worth the price”

Carmen Nobel is senior editor of Harvard Business School Working Knowledge.

How does colour affect buyer behaviour?


Imagine a world without colour! Pretty dull don’t you think?

Colour interestingly enough does affect our mood and emotions. We as humans associate different colours with different meanings. Choosing the right colour for your product or brand can help represent what an organisation stands for or can assist in attracting your target audience. In return our buying behaviour will be affected depending on the colour selected. In general consumers will make judgment of a product in less than 90 seconds, making the visual appearance a key aspect in buying behaviour. If we want to influence consumer’s decision-making processes when purchasing a particular product, understanding colour psychology will most definitely help.

Colour is commonly used to portray a certain image about your brand or product. For example when we look at the colour white we associate this with cleanliness and purity, which is why white, is so commonly used in a clinical setting. According to kissmetrics 85% of shoppers rated colour as a primary reason for purchasing a particular product. Colour can also increase brand recognition and even identify what type of shopper you are dealing with.


Attract your ideal consumer through colour

Kissmetrics surveys show that people who are influenced by red, black or royal blue are more likely to be impulse shoppers. You will usually find this particular shopper first in line at a clearance sale or scouting for discounts at your local shopping mall. There are many brands using the colour red as their primary colour for branding. Red is also known to cause excitement and seduce inner cravings.


Your budget shoppers on the other hand are more influenced by teal and navy blue. Blue can represent reliability and trust hence why many banks utilise the colour blue. 6 revealing facts about colour psychology


Video: Rajesh Bagchi, associate professor of marketing in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, and co-researcher Amar Cheema from the University of Virginia study how red and blue background colors on websites or on the store walls influence consumers’ willingness to buy.

Perception of colour

Are we all influenced by colour in the same way? Yes and No. We are all influenced by colour but we may perceive colour differently from one another. Example, if a particular colour associates with a traumatic life event this can affect the buyers mood negatively, resulting in the consumer choosing another brand. Culture can also have a lot to do with perception of colour. Example, in the western hemisphere black is associated with death where as in the eastern hemisphere white is associated with death. Colour affects buyer behaviour

Establishing brand recognition with colour

The consumer needs to identify a product with a brand. Consistency is the key to successful brand recognition. Using colours consistently is an example of this. To create brand recognition the same colour could be used on the product packaging, website and brochures to display consistency. Researchers at the University of Loyola found that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% (Morton “Why color matters”). In another study, when a group of people were shown 3-second advertisements, over 62% developed an association to a brand based purely on the colours they saw (Chang & Lin, The impact of color traits on corporate branding).

We can not assume that colours will affect buying behaviour the same way for every individual but we can take colour into consideration when wanting to represent a certain brand or product. If you choose the appropriate colour for your brand or customer you can expect to grab more attention from your targeted audience.

Colour does matter!


The Use of Technology – Targeting or the Targeted

We can’t be all things to all people. The market place is large and while it would be good for business to provide a suitable product and/or service to all people, we know that it is not possible for most businesses to market a product across all sectors of the market.

The preferred tool for determining where to put the marketing effort is the SWOT analysis. The Strengths and Weaknesses relate to the business while the Opportunities and Threats relate to the market segment.

However there is another emerging tool becoming increasingly used in today’s market that is changing the way that businesses approach their customers. The new tool is encompassed in technology (internet, smart phones, and data tracking).

Is this technology helping business keep in contact with their customers’ needs/wants?

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Some supermarkets are using loyalty programs to understand customers shopping habits in an effort to customise their marketing programs specifically for the customer. This would appear to only be of benefit if the customer bought all of their products from the one supermarket chain.

Customers are also using technology to their best advantage as well with smart phone technology and the use of Apps enabling a customer to be in one supermarket while using their smart phone to compare pricing of a similar product at a competitor supermarket.

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This enables some customers to buy certain products at one supermarket and other products from a different supermarket. This in some way does not give the supermarket a true understanding of all the products that a customer uses only those products that are purchased in that supermarket.

Some UK supermarkets now contribute to a website where consumers can compare similar products across the different companies for the best pricing. This appears to be very transparent however are the products being compared similar?

The use of technology appears to be a more transparent way of doing business and it would seem that businesses would need to embrace many different ways of understanding customers or risk being left behind.

Meeting the needs of the Market Segment – Glad you didn’t get that wrong!

We know that appealing to a particular segment of the market can be cost effective particularly if we know that the product that we want to sell is used extensively by that segment of the market. Let us consider the situation where a supplier of a product to the market sees the need to upgrade the product and replace the existing product with a new product.

In this situation a lot of work has gone into getting the existing product into the market and cementing the brand into the market place for a number of years. It is possible that the supplier would want to upgrade the product to keep it fresh in the market, include new technology showing innovation and resourcefulness.

But what if they do all the work, make the change and get the change wrong!

untitled 4Recently we have seen Channel Nines -A Current Affair program and social media highlight the plight of Glad Australia and the recent changes that have been made to the good old glad wrap box. Glad Australia claims that they wanted to present a product to market which would deliver a better experience and better value, at no extra cost to the consumer. They also claim to have done considerable research and rigorous testing of the product before changing the product on the supermarket shelves; however the consumer backlash has been significant.

What did the customer want?  They wanted a product that was not going to contribute to their frustration when they were preparing school lunches, work lunches or cooking meals. They just wanted something that worked.

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The old design had been in place for some time and most people have grown up with that design in the kitchen, so it was probably not a design that was perfect but it was a design that they knew how to use.

Glad Australia, by their own admission carried out rigorous testing and research to come up with the new design. They also claim that more than 60% of those Australians, who participated in the research, preferred the improved product overall.

Now we don’t know the makeup or the size of the research group, however I would have thought that if 40% of them didn’t like it then it would most likely lead to some negativity in the market place.

What should Glad Australia do now?

This, by their own admission has cost them “hundreds of thousands of dollars”, it would appear that they will revert back to the original design in a couple of months time. They will most likely have lost considerable market share due to this decision as their competitors have a similar design to the old glad wrap box.

But does that mean that there will be no changes to the Glad Wrap box ever…..