Human Behavior

21 04 2008

It’s been a while, almost two weeks since I’ve actually blogged. Life has been next to hectic, and still is. However, today is my birthday, so I am actually taking the time to do things I enjoy. Before my study marathon tonight….because finals are this week. So, there was an article in the NYT last week that sparked my interest. Human behavior has always been fascinating to me, and it was because of that that I chose to study marketing as an undergraduate. Why not psychology? Well, because I am interested in the parts of human behavior that drive consumer choices. So, who buys what and for what reasons. Marketers study these behaviors in order to know who to market products to and how best to approach them. The idea is called targeting. Well, with all the advances that have been made in research methods, we can take it a step farther and start microtargeting. Microtargeting takes it to a whole new level, beyond demographic, geographic, and psyhographic information. This article was all about microtargeting used by pollsters for political campaigns. *as a side note, political science and business are very separate in college, which I think only harms the spread of new and inventive marketing tactics* Like minded people are targeted not based on age and gender, but instead based on what television shows they watch, the magazines or newspapers they subscribe to, and even the purchases they make at the grocery store. The article points to several specific food stuffs and can pinpoint which candidate you are likely to vote for based on your purchase of any of these items. “For example, Dr Pepper is a Republican soda. Pepsi-Cola and Sprite are Democratic. So are most clear liquors, like gin and vodka, along with white wine and Evian water. Republicans skew toward brown liquors like bourbon or scotch, red wine and Fiji water.” This is a tiny excerpt from the article by Kim Severson. Can you categorize your friends (politically) based on their likes and dislikes?
How does any of this help in a political campaign? Well, there is some debate about how much help this level of microtargeting does help. It won’t help you convince someone that your healthcare plan is better than the other guy’s, but it can definitely help you know where to advertise. Microtargeting is business tool that has just recently been noticed in the world of political marketing, something I choose to think of as social marketing. It’s on the rise, and we are going to see more and more in the coming election. Read the full article here.

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