Why Digital Marketers Should Think Like Parents

No two people are exactly alike. We are genetically unique at least 99.7% of the time (identical twins make up the other 0.3%). But even identical twin who share exact copies of their DNA, are unique individuals, with unique behaviors and characteristics based on their interactions with the environment, time, geography and the context. (Full disclosure: I am the parent of identical twins and can personally vouch for there vast differences in their behavior. I can also vouch for the fact that one can survive for 3 years with significant sleep deprivation but that’s for another blog).

Even in the United States, where we celebrate individualism, most consumers are targeted by advertisers based on their respective cohorts. But if brand marketers acted more like parents they’d think of their audience as individuals and craft their message and target each one.  Sound impossible? It’s really not.

I understand that historically, advertisers could only target based on defined segments and look for the appropriate medium to find that audience – a billboard on a highway, a TV commercial during a sitcom, or an ad in a fashion magazine. But with the technology and resources available today, why are agencies still thinking, talking and acting on simple segments?

Because humans are lazy. Because we don’t like change. Because many data companies are built on a model that unfortunately (to them), is outdated and they pour in the marketing dollars to convince advertisers they need segments.

If you’re a company targeting media based on segment membership you’re doing your client and the consumer a disservice. It’s a waste – of dollars to the advertisers and of time to the consumer.

Consumers are people. People are unique (even identical twins). Campaigns should respect and value their uniqueness…just like a proud parent.


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