Targeting against the Law of large numbers


Sooner or later every one hears about targeted advertising. If you are a kindergarten principal your audience might be all parents but subconsciously you have a list of the parents that give the most amount of time or money. This compels you to greet these parents personally and keep an eye on their wards.

Targeting is a natural thing for humans just like eating food. Take human memory, it depends to a very large degree on heuristic knowledge. Assumptions like Asians are good at math and Indian people like curry are just heuristics we use within our memory to make things easier for our brains. Targeting is also help for our brain, it allows us to keep our contact group small but allows for benefit maximization.

The corporation (an artificial person under the law) has another option at its disposal “law of large numbers” the basic idea being that if the same standard line is fed to as many people as possible and the law of large number dictates that at least some will respond positively to it.

This is where targeting is brought in again (this oxymoron is brought to you by the same people who use words like synergy) after choosing mass media outlets (like TV and national news papers) to promote a product these same people then cut, copy, paste, trim, nudge, smooth, stylize and customize the message. This makes the vehicle of mass media irrelevant. By the time this editing is done the message is only applicable to say “mom’s of 2 kids in a specific age group” who would rather leave her choice of detergent up to a recommendation made by her other mom friend anyways.

Marketing lesson: There is value for certain brands in mass media just like some brands can find value in targeted advertising. The idea is to be extremely disciplined one does not need to go about reinventing the wheel with every advertising account. Keep it Simple Silly.

until next time,

namaste.

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