Targeting through Digital Marketing

Targeting is crucial in building a successful brand.  A company must understand their audience; the demographics as well as the psychographics.  After the brand has clearly identified and uncovered the audience on a personal level, it is time to “tailor the brand messaging to ensure that the story will be relevant to each group. Take the key messages developed for the company, and think about how you can fine-tune them for each of your audience profiles.”[1]  To truly understand what targeting is and how it can help (and hurt!) a company I will provide an explain three examples of good targeting strategies, as well as two examples of targeting gone wrong. 

First, I received this email from Taylormade golf equipment company today.  It is a personalized email signed by Tiger Woods to notify me that he has now signed his new club equipment deal with Taylormade.  This is a good targeting strategy by Taylormade, obviously sent out to consumers who play golf.  While this may seem to be a broad, “one message fits all,” Taylormade personalized the letter directly to me and signed from Tiger Woods.  Anyone who plays golf (and even those who do not) know how much Tiger changed the game of golf.  His personal life aside, it is hard not have a tremendous amount of respect for his golf performances and abilities.  Thus, the consumer is more likely to read the email.  It makes it more interesting and eye-catching. Not only does it catch the consumer’s attention, but also sparks the interest into Taylormade clubs again.

NikeWomen also does a good job of targeting.  I was checking out their Instagram page about a week ago, (for last week’s discussion!) and also looking on their website and now these items that I searched for have been popping up on my Facebook.  NikeWomen is targeting me as a consumer and tracking what I like and making sure to display the items as reminders on my other social media outlets.  Nevertheless, the more times I see the ad the more times I am willing to click on it and buy it.

Finally, I have been looking for apartments in the Tampa area.  I find this ad on my Facebook today.  It is for apartments and particularly apartments that are “1.5 miles from TGH,” which is a hospital located near my home currently.  Another good example of targeting me as a person looking for an apartment in a particular area and making sure to “remind” me of what is available on all of my social media outlets. 


Targeting, as earlier stated, is essential to a successful marketing strategy.  However, if done incorrectly, it can certainly cause more harm than good.  For example, everyone is aware of the recent Twitter scandal involving SNL writer, Katie Rich, tweeting about President Trump’s son.  It is a well-known fact that talk shows and late night comedy shows, such as SNL, use politics as the center of many skits and jokes.  Katie Rich was obviously trying to make a joke and clearly targeting those who do not support the new president.  However, using a ten-year-old child to do so (especially about a topic as sensitive as school shootings) was not the best idea.  She received so much back lash that she had to issue an apology and set her Twitter page to private.  She has since received an indefinite suspension from SNL. 


Finally, in 2015 when the Houston Rockets eliminated the Dallas Mavericks from the playoffs, the social media team released this tweet (the horse represents the Mavericks mascot).  You can see how this would not go over well in the Twitter-verse (or really any ‘-verse’ for that matter!).  Simply trying to target excited Rockets fans, the social media manager was promptly fired after this incident.



In closing, targeting is a key element in building an effective marketing campaign.  The company must first define and understand its audience.  Once this is complete, the brand needs to find a creative way to customize ads to each group.  Yet, as with any as released to the public, targeting requires thoughtful consideration of all groups before it is published.  Releasing an offensive post can lead to more harm than good. 


[1] “3 Steps to Defining Your Company’s Audience.” Search Jobs, Career Advice and Company Profiles at The Muse. N.p., 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 25 Jan. 2017. <;.



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