Customer Targeting by State-of-Mind


Recently I met a CEO who has a cutting edge child safety device. Essentially it can locate a child from 300-500 feet away via a child transmitter and parent receiver, and it beeps if the child goes off to far.

This is a technology that could be considered ‘early adopter’ – you don’t see this on children today, it’s not in retail, it requires consumer education, and it has a high price point.

He asked for my marketing perspective, and I suggested PR and direct sales online with paid and natural search. Once he gets enough attention and shows the product can be sold, then retailers are more interested because he can demonstrate buzz and sell through. Retailers are interested in volume (inventory turnover). All this was probably not news to him, although he didn’t have a PR agency.

However, I just thought of another market targeting principle that may have application for other products in direct mail, advertising, search, and web advertising…

Target by state of mind.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s take direct mail. First, you want to target people that respond to direct mail, so that’s an obvious filter.

Next, let’s say for him, he’s targeting mothers who bought products for children in the age range of 2-6. Ok, there are lists, and most direct mailers would sample and test lists from here.

Let’s take it a bit further…

Since this is an early adopter product, then you can expect the demand for such a product is greater among mothers who are fanatical about their children’s safety. Of course every mother’s top priority is children’s safety, but by fanatical I mean they act on a heightened interest. They are at the extreme end of acting on this state of mind, demonstrating a targetable profile which has a greater felt need for such products. Such products are on their radar screen. They’ll take the time to learn about them, therefore, expect higher response rates with an audience in such a state of mind.

So now you want to reverse engineer the demographics and behaviors (subscriptions, purchases, activities, places, keywords, etc.) of mothers in this state of mind to match your target profile.

I don’t know…perhaps you’d look for women who are…

…subscribed to more than 3 children magazines, and/or…

…have been on a child safety catalog list for more than 2 years, and/or…

…have purchased similar expensive child safety products, and/or…

…just moved to a big city, and/or…

…actually subscribe to those community kids magazines that are free at the grocery store.

You get the idea. Demographics and purchase activity may not go deep enough. Good list targeting is like anthropology and psychology – it requires getting in the ideal prospect’s shoes (i.e. high felt need) and seeing where and how they walk. Then be there with a benefit message that speaks to that need.

One Response

  1. Active parents are on e-mail lists — if you really have something to solve the problem of the runaway kid, seeding word of mouth on the email would be my first place to start, and then go from there to the playground.

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