Target’s Extreme Segmentation in Direct Marketing

January 27th, 2010 (6,838 views) by Pinny Cohen

 Target Segementing Direct Marketing

We’ve all seen the 20% off coupon oversize postcard Bed Bath & Beyond sends each week, right? Well, what you may not know is, other retailers aren’t sending customers the same offers all the time. Welcome to the world of favoritism by retailers.

A reader on The Consumerist (a popular consumer watchdog site) wrote in, saying that she receives ad mailings of past tenants occasionally, and she noticed that this time

there were two packs of Target coupons. I opened one of them to flip through the coupons. It was mostly name brand stuff, the majority of which didn’t interest me since I tend to buy store brand items. I put both packs on the dining table and ignored them until the weekend. I picked up both packs on my way out, intending to do some grocery shopping and pick up some cleaning supplies, and I notice that the packets have different coupons in them. One of them promises “over $43 in savings,” and the other one only “$20 in coupons.”

Not only did Target send her past apartment tenant an ad for higher savings, it also was less restrictive of the products the coupons could be used on.

What does target know about her previous tenant that makes him more valuable as a customer?

Retailers often target different messages to different demographic and geographic audiences, but is this the new trend?

I’m interested to hear from consumers and marketers alike, in the comments.

If you’re a consumer, does this anger you? Will this change how you go about finding coupons?

If you’re a marketer, do you think this is ethical? Do you have a story about segmenting the direct marketing offer in a way that gives certain recipients an advantage over others?

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3 Responses to “Target’s Extreme Segmentation in Direct Marketing”

  1. James Dvorak Jr Says:

    That is SCARY dude… I have a newborn son and have bought him things in the past there, but I started noticing that even when NOTHING I am purchasing on a specific trip is even remotely related to shopping for a baby, it will print out coupons for baby formula and other baby related things…. I don’t have an account with Target so how do they know I have a child? It is quite disturbing, although being in a business myself where I want to know everything about my customer, I also respect privacy.

    With Project Natal coming for xbox, expect to walk into the room where the console is on and it realizes you are drinking a Pepsi, so, having a partnership with Coke it decides to play an advertisement for Coke! I think it is a huge invasion of privacy but if people WANT that, let them have it, just make sure that you give them A CHOICE whether they want you to be so nosey!

  2. paul Says:

    about ‘bed,bath& beyond, their product prices minus their coupons are still a higher price than ‘target’ or ‘jc penny’. it pays to shop around.

  3. Pinny Cohen Says:

    Paul,

    I agree! I was just in there for the first time in over 2-3 years, and was surprised by how expensive they are even after the coupon is applied.

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