Different angles to hit a target

I read Gary Eastwood’s report about the power of targeted communication (MW February 27) with interest. While it is hardly a revelation to most regular users of direct marketing that targeting is a good thing – particularly when combined with relevant creative work – it is amazing how often it seems to be ignored.

However, I think the article overlooks the benefits of using a database as a research tool in its own right. Carefully constructed test cells may result in an overall increase in mailing volumes, but they are also invaluable in providing real feedback rather than simply predicting behaviour. Depending on the nature of the product and the volumes involved, test marketing can often come at a fraction of the cost of using sophisticated segmentation and analysis tools, while still providing a return on investment.

It could be argued that the excessive use of targeting is almost as bad as none at all, leading to a closed mind and an inability to see opportunities other than the most valuable respondents of the moment. Consumers change and can be unpredictable – after all in the film Sea of Love, to which Gary refers, wasn’t Al Pacino targeting the wrong group entirely (I seem to remember the killer turned out to be Ellen Barkin’s ex-husband, rather than any of the women who responded to the personal ads)?

Gareth Hayes

Managing director

Tiger Tiger Communications

Bristol

E-mail address for letters: mw.editorial@centaur.co.uk

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