4 years ago by Liz Estall
What Nike's latest ad teaches us about targeting
You might have seen this advert from the Nike: Unlimited Youth campaign.
Amazing, isn't it?
Sister Madonna Buder (aged 86) looks for all intents and purposes like a regular nun, deep in prayer, carrying out her liturgical commitments.
But what exactly is a regular nun? The narrator is surprised to find that she's training for an Ironman competition. Despite the narrator's discouragement and doubts, she wins him over in the end, and he eventually submits to letting her 'do her own thing'.
I think this campaign is really striking - and says a lot about the way we stereotype and make assumptions about people's lifestyle and behaviours.
It's the same in marketing. In striving to better understand our customers and what they do and don't like, we probably end up making similar assumptions. But the truth is that without proper data, we're in the dark.
As we all know, it sucks to be pigeonholed. Especially when the result is having your capabilities underestimated or your intentions misunderstood. Misunderstanding your audience could make or break a campaign.
With all the technology, software and bells and whistles that are readily available to businesses now we can make much better decisions. Better decisions about our actual audience - who they actually are, not who we think they are.
We all think that Sister Madonna Buder is just a nun. But she's actually an athlete - and why wouldn't she be.
The beauty of digital marketing.
With traditional marketing, you might be running a campaign, and your best bet is to target people by demographics and your market research.
For example, traditionally, if you were targeting runners, you might go wherever you thought active or younger popel were congregating. Radio stations, MTV or outdoor campaigns based around city centres could be your go-to channels.
The beauty of digital marketing is that it's so heavily based on data, that any marketing activity can be driven by the data - and stand a better chance of working.
For example, you could run a Facebook campaign targeted directly at people with an interest in running - regardless of their age, lifestyle or other demographic factors. Or you can target display ads at people who have an interest in running. That means every pound you spend is more targeted.
Poorly researched and implemented marketing poses the All Trousers pet peeve: time completely wasted. Digital marketing doesn't need to assume, discriminate or offend. And ultimately it should be targeting the right people.
When we think of our services from paid ads through to social communities and hashtags, when you have rich data you can target people who actually want what you're offering, regardless of who they are.
Even if they're a nun.