Sunday, August 13, 2017

How do companies pick their target audiences? The confusing case of Lebanon

Jaguar, which apparently won car of the year has its ads all over my browser for its F-Pace. A middle of the road clothing boutique just sent me a text announcing it was 60% in all of its branches, and a week ago one of the city's most upscale shops sent a similar text - the price difference between the two shops is enormous. Adidas targets me as well in its announcements. And the list continues.
Truth be told, I am confused as to how companies (specifically companies I never purchased from in the past) decide to target me. Or any audience at large.
Sure, there is the socioeconomic class factor. Which splits into social and economic. Meaning the income does play a part but so does the social aspect (what kind of a job, how prominent the profile etc...). Classes go from A+ to E with C being middle class. And B/A being more on the upper echelons.
Then there is the newer way which centers around psychometric elements - these are independent from the socioeconomic status. They center around hobbies, lifestyle, opinions, etc... Ex, when you go hiking there is a big likelihood the person next to you has a different job, earns a different amount of money yearly, yet you both meet every Sunday to go on a trail together and end up bonding accordingly.
Which brings me to the central case of this post: How do companies pick their target audiences?
At this stage, and considering I work in advertising myself, I have no clue how to answer.
There is little likelihood I am a Jaguar customer all while being the target of a boutique with products of so-so quality at the same time. I can understand being emailed invites to the opening of art shows, I am after all an artist (and a blogger to boot), and I sure heavy rolling collectors get the same email and gallerists or institutions do not expect me to place red dots (i.e. buy) the artworks. I get invited for totally different reasons.
But how companies classify their potential clients is still a mystery. How can very luxurious brands and run of the mill ones both think the same customer could be interested in them. Someone from a lower socioeconomic class buys his/her beachwear from a street van, someone a bit more well off goes to fast fashion stores for the same purpose, go up the social/financial echelon and upscale boutiques become it, and eventually luxurious retailers end up serving the top of the food chain for exactly the same intended buy: A beachwear item.
Theoretically, these are very different targets - and here I am discounting the possibility of cross-over clients who buy from luxury outlets on discount - yet somehow, companies tend to jumble everyone in the same basket.
Or perhaps, the world changed so much that aspirational customers and current ones do end up rubbing shoulders in places where in the past they never did, and that the person going to malls ends up buying from a Zara and then picks up his/her luxurious SUV parked downstairs.
"People would park their cars in front of Via Spiga and go to shop at Akil" - so went the joke when Akil a cheap overstock retailer opened in Kaslik, which at the time was one of the land's most expensive shopping streets. Via Spiga which closed since then was one of the county's most upscale retailers with a flaghsip store in the aforementioned area, while Akil is still there though, nestled between a rotating space and and once fashionable boutique which was a go-to address. Maybe high-brow and low-brow have become closer to one another with time.