Targeted Marketing? Or Spam?

Behavioral targeting, geo-targeting and social media marketing are the current hot terms, but there’s a thin line between something being targeted marketing and it being spam.  Unfortunately, that line isn’t always obvious as it’s frequently determined by how the person you’re targeting perceives it.

After a Foursquare check in, I received the following response:

Twitter Ad directed at me advertising a Chinese restaurant

On the one hand, it seems like a brilliant concept capitalizing on the opportunity to advertise other businesses I might be near.  However, the big question… Is it effective?  In my opinion, no.

Here’s why:

  1. As you can see in the screen shot of their Twitter stream below, they’re targeting based on address.  However, is the targeting accurate?  It’s hard to tell from the little bit of information provided.
  2. The biggest reason though is it isn’t relevant.

Some might argue it is as you’re eating at one restaurant and it’s recommending another.  However, I argue it isn’t because in my case and looking at many of the cases in their tweet stream, Chinese food isn’t relevant to Mexican fast food.

If I was eating at Tokyo Joe’s, or one of the nearby Chinese restaurants, I would say it’s very relevant.  But if I’m craving Qdoba’s queso, there is absolutely no way I’m going to be tempted by Chinese food.

Secondly, the location is important.  How close of proximity is the restaurants it’s recommending?  Are they in the same strip mall or are they a ten minute drive?

For me, Qdoba’s is within walking distance of my office.  How important is that to me?  A lot. Will I consider driving 5 miles to try out a Chinese restaurant?  Probably not.

Maybe they get the promotions right more often than not… but from what I saw, Starbuck’s really doesn’t equate to pricey Fondue, or Italian food to sushi.

I see some potential in their marketing efforts, but I think they’ve missed the mark.  Especially as it feels completely automated instead of feeling personalized.  What do you think?

Promotional Tweet's Twitter Stream

What “Dry Erase Board Girl” Can Teach You About Marketing

If you have no idea who Dry Erase Board Girl is, click here first.  You can find her follow up to it here.

1. It doesn’t have to be fancy

33 photos that appear to be taken in someone’s living room were engaging and got the point across. Not only did it get the point across, it made it easy to share (and boy did people share it) because you could view it from just about anywhere whether you were using a computer or a smart phone.

2. It needs to resonate

While some people are upset over this not being real, most are still okay with it. Many people suspected it was a hoax before it was announced but still shared it. Why? Because it resonated with them. Who hasn’t worked at a job where they wish they could quit like this despite the repercussions?

3. Yes, sex sells, but it can still be subtle

Would this have gone viral if it were a cute guy instead of a cute girl? Probably not. But it also didn’t take a mostly (or completely) naked girl either. Yes, there is a photo of her in a tank and short shorts highlighting her HPOAness, however, the remainder are a head shot and a dry erase board. One thing I’ve heard over and over is how great the actresses’ expressions are. Proving just how powerful a smile can be.

4. Keep it real

While the situation itself may not have been real, the concept was, as well as the actress. Going back to the sex sells point, they could’ve hired someone who looked like a Playboy Centerfold or a model, but they went with someone who was more girl next door. Why? Any of those descriptions would have fit in with the HPOA quitting frustration. Because it would have taken this into the realm of over the top and wouldn’t have resonated as strongly with the audience. Most people know someone or might even be someone like Elyse Porterfield. It added to the realness of it.

5. It needs to fit your goals

The big marketing cliché lately is taking something viral. But… why? Why do you want or need something to go viral? Unfortunately, too few marketers can answer that, or answer beyond a mass marketing mentality.

Does Viral=Sales? Sometimes. Does Viral=Money? Maybe. Does Viral=Branding? Sometimes.

See a trend here? Nobody can accurately predict what will or won’t work 100% of the time.

For, which describes itself as “Probably the Best Site in the World”, the goal more than likely was to drive traffic and probably subscriptions. You know what? I bet they succeeded.

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