Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 4: Using Social Media to Find the "Right" Targets

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In this week’s readings, there is a lot of information about targeting advertisements to the “right” people. According to key marketing executives, “Fifty percent of my advertising works. I just don’t know which 50 percent” (Kerpen, 2011, p. 34). With the advent of social media, this percentage should be declining because there are more ways to reach customers. As such, “successful online marketing and PR efforts…start by identifying one or more buyer personas to target” (Scott, 2013, p. 164). A buyer persona is a description of key points that is typically representative of a specific buyer of the company’s product or service.

Although not the typical product or service, Obama used a progressive approach to win the 2008 election, truly using social media as a platform to gain voters. The campaign team identified voter personas based upon what state they were from, so that they could better focus their messaging (Scott, 2013, p. 189). You can read more about how Obama changed politics here: In addition, you can see Obama’s YouTube channel: and how free advertising was disseminated and watched by supporters whenever they had the time. By developing these biographies for buyer types, it makes it easier to create a strategic marketing plan that targets these people. As we start to think about the 2016 elections, it will be fascinating to see how other candidates will use social media in their campaigns.

In my professional experience, when we are recruiting healthcare professionals to come to our meetings, we have a specific list of people that we want to attend. For example, when we were holding an event at the American Heart Association’s annual conference, we had a target list that was composed of cardiologists and primary care physicians. Because the conference attracts a wide variety of attendees, we filtered out many people, such as international physicians, so that we could advertise to the people we wanted and make sure they were coming to our program. We target these groups because physicians tend to prescribe the particular product and our clients are only influencing prescriptions in the US. We typically use traditional marketing techniques, such as direct mail and door drops, but after reading some of this week’s readings, I wonder what kind of uptake we would get if we used hypertargeting to really focus in on our core audience (Kerpen, 2011, p. 35).

Do you have any personal experience using buyer personas to develop marketing campaigns at your job? If so, use the readings to support how you use these personas to increase hits on your targeted advertisements. If not, what are some of the ways discussed in this week’s materials that can help you better target your ads to customers?

Kerpen, D. (2011). Likeable social media: How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing on Facebook (& other social networks). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Scott, D.M. (2013). The new rules of marketing & PR. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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