Saturday, September 21, 2013

Micro-targeting the macro-wannabe

My husband and I stared at each other in amazement when this showed up unsolicited in our mailbox the other day:
Regular readers are probably throwing back their heads and laughing out loud
Stuff like this invokes memories of that milestone moment in consumer marketing history best explained in the feature "How Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did". 
I've got no buns in the oven, but I've sure got plants in the ground.

Screengrabbed from Forbes
Every time one of these micro-targeting efforts hits the bulls eye, my husband and I try to figure out how in the hell they were able to do it.  What's especially interesting in this case is that the personalized advertisement showed up in my husband's name, not mine.  But I do 100% of the shopping for landscaping and gardening supplies (much of which I pay for by credit card, which is fully data-mine-able).  But if these guys are as sophisticated as I suspect they are, then they probably know that, even though I didn't change my last name for professional reasons, I'm traditional enough to generally refer to our homestead as the "[my husband's name] residence" and therefore that would, in fact, be the correct marketing default, even though the purchasing forensics might suggest otherwise on their faces. 

If they know our names and address, then they certainly know that we are situated on an ordinary subdivision lot that cannot possibly support the "farm" for which they are marketing personalized apparel.   But if they are as sophisticated as I suspect they are, they also recognize a farming wannabe when they see one, just as Target recognized a pregnant teenager.  And pairing one's last name with a lifestyle aspiration is the ultimate appeal to vanity. 

So did their exquisitely-sophisticated targeting work?  Let's just say that, after staring wistfully at the postcard for several minutes, my husband admitted, "I wouldn't mind a hoodie."
Let's take a closer look at that logo.  There's a barn where a four-car garage currently sits, and a silo where the chimney ought to be.  But otherwise, it is oddly reminiscent of a tract home property, isn't it?  Especially if one is predisposed to view one's own property production potential through cauliflower-colored glasses, it's an irresistible juxtaposition. 

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