The ultimate form of target marketing – or maybe not

In my book I speak out about the myth of target marketing – brands largely compete as sophisticated mass marketers. Whereas I note that the latest Kotler textbook on the Australian market (Marketing 8th edition, Kotler, Brown, Burton, Deans and Armstrong 2010) recommends targeted marketing – and that “The ultimate form of target marketing is customised marketing in which the company adapts its product and marketing program to the needs of a specific customer or buying organisation. So, Adidas allows people to order shoes customised to their foot size, and ANZ allows people to personalise their credit card with a photo of their choice.” (page 264)

What nonsense.  This isn’t ultra targeting, it isn’t even targeting! Both Adidas and ANZ aim for the entire market, they are mass marketers. Yes they add in a bit of customisation at the last moment for those that want it, but this doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t affect their media buy, nor how they strive to gain distribution etc.

Most marketers add in a bit of last minute customisation – “would you like a bag ? do you want that gift wrapped ? do you want to pay cash or credit card ?”  This isn’t “the ultimate form of target marketing”.

This textbook shows how target marketing is taught as unthinking gospel.  And academics complain that students don’t think!


Sold Out – a lesson in book marketing

My book, “How Brands Grow“, was available for a whole day in the UK, after which Amazon and the other online retailers depleted the UK stock of Oxford University Press.

It’s a specialist book so it’s not going to be a big seller, but when it runs out of stock then there is no way it can gain a decent sales ranking, and so it won’t catch attention and then it won’t sell much.  It’s a catch-22 for new authors (new brands), distributors won’t stock much unless they see it selling lots, but it can’t sell lots unless it is well-stocked.

A lesson for me in book marketing.  The next book will be so much easier.

PS Though of course I’m actually oddly pleased that it sold-out – it feels good even if it isn’t.