Tactically brilliant, strategically inept. Conservatives 2017
Targeting. We hear so much about targeting when marketers speak. There is more data than ever before, as well as brilliant software and systems available to help understand their meaning. What is more, the delivery of marketing messages can be pinpoint accurate.
When you put these two marvels of the modern business world together, what you end with, according to Marketing Week, is a system where:
“It’s suddenly possible to promote military spending to John Smith at 25 Eden Drive while telling Jane Jones at 24 you will keep a keen eye on the budget.”
That is all well and good but somewhere along the line human beings have to make decisions about interpreting the data and targeting the ads. It cannot all be done programmatically by machines. Someone, somewhere, has to make a call about what to do with the information and how best to spend a budget.
In this election, the Tories decided at a strategic level to target Leave voters in the North of England. That decision was their downfall.
When they should have been shoring up seats in the South, and taking whatever extra wins came from the North as bonuses – not even the icing on the cake, more like sugar sprinkles on the icing – they were instead staking everything on toppling what, in reality, are Weeble seats for Labour.
Yes, the data was right and, yes, the targeted ads worked as predicted. In some Labour strongholds in the North, there was a swing to the Tories of over 10%. While that is tactically impressive - and whoever designed the ads to target the people in those areas should get a pat on the back – strategically, it was a huge mistake. Even with a swing to the Right of 10%, these seats were never going to change hands. The human decision to throw money, time and resources at them, was a mistake. Those Weeble seats might wobble but what won’t they do? Exactly. Fall down.
Marketing data is an invaluable resource in the modern world and ad delivery systems are more advanced than ever before; the marketer’s tactical arsenal is stocked with fantastic tools.
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