Marketing began to take a turn in the early ’70s. During those years, the two most venerated titles in magazine publishing-Look and Life-closed their doors. And while Life magazine attempted a few shots at resurrection over the ensuing years, its day was done.

Everybody knew and loved Look and Life. Look magazine was the top source for great photo journalism; Life was number one in pithy articles that captivated just about everyone. Both titles had broad appeal and respect among American magazine buyers. So what went wrong?

As it turned out, they were too broad. Around four decades ago, there began a change in the way people liked to receive their information, both commercial and non-commercial. Effectively, the “one medium fits all” approach was being replaced with “there’s a medium for each of us.” Those marketers once looking to reach everybody via Look or Life magazines were now looking to reach, say, sports enthusiasts, or urbanites, or college graduates through media expressly for them.

This shift in focus from the masses to the individual began to affect everything. Television programming started to become specific to the interests of various niche groups, as did newspapers, radio, film, and just about every other communications channel. The once vast marketing/media pie was being sliced into thinner and thinner pieces, representing numerous distinct audiences.

We’ve now reached a point where marketers are drilling down even further to where every media message or ad is aimed at a small group of individuals or even one person at a time. Thanks to the Internet, we can now communicate with the person who represents our very best prospect through a technology called retargeting. For example, if you go online to search for Hawaiian vacations, you may unknowingly trigger a retarget ad or message from the Maui Visitors Bureau. And that message will follow you around wherever else you go online, to the point of becoming ubiquitous.

All of this speaks to two import-ant considerations regarding optical: first, that the marketing strategies used by anyone today-whether doctor, retailer, or manufacturer-must be personalized as much as possible; second, that the consumer expects that degree of personalization.

Optical is no longer aiming just at people who need vision care. We’re aiming at fashion mavens, young mothers, retirees, athletes, engineers, hipsters, and so on, each with different wants, needs, and interests. The trick is to remember that there are only so many targets one can service while continuing to be effective…and relevant.

email me at fg@visioncareproducts.com


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