Monday, October 8

NBC News Targeting

I taught Day Two of my weekend intensive class at NYU this past Saturday, and as usual I really enjoyed the experience.  Since the students come from all walks of life and countries around the world, hearing their perspectives on marketing is so enlightening for me.

We spoke a lot about getting to know your consumer, which is a constant ongoing pursuit that never ends. It's the marketers daily duty.

The key to consumer learning is to look at both the demographics and the psychographics of your target ... we need to understand both the facts and figures about our consumers as well as the attitudes and behaviors.  In fact, it's the psychographics that are generally more telling.

Evidently we are not alone in this thinking.  NBC News just announced that they are no longer just going to target their audience based on demographics, something that up until now has been a generally accepted practice.  So instead of just targeting by age, income, sex, and geography, they are going to target their audience by the behaviors they exhibit when searching for, gathering, and consuming the news.

Smart.

So news junkies who constantly sweep online sources for the news will be targeted and nurtured by NBC differently than those who just seek the news once in the morning or in the evening.  Regardless of their age or sex.

The truth is that just because people share a demographic classification does not mean that they are at all alike.  In fact, it's more likely that people who share a common belief or behavior are more likely to be similar and hence look for similar products and services.  Just because two women are both the same age and live in the same city doesn't mean that they have anything else in common.  But two people who share a desire to be constantly connected to the news are likely to have a lot in common, and can be marketed to accordingly.

I find it very interesting that NBC News is shifting their outlook, particularly at a time when it seems that they are struggling.  Getting closer to your consumer is always a good bet in times like these!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

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