Doesn’t it seem reasonable to market products to people like ourselves? If you’re a health nut marketing nutritional supplements, you look for others with that bent, i.e. those who know nutrition matters.
That way you’re at least a credible member of the same community, rather than an outsider marketing “to” someone you barely know and know even less about. Plus you don’t have to do therapy.
However, the Harvard Business Review has another angle: Should we think about “targeting those (prospective) customers’…alter egos, as well?”
“Advertising,” writes Paul Hemp, “has always targeted a powerful consumer alter ego: that hip, attractive, incredibly popular person just waiting to emerge (with the help of the advertised product) from an all-too-normal self.” Harvard Business Review, 6.06, p. 52. (Here’s the PDF of this intriguing piece.)
He suggests, among other things, visiting and participating in the hugely popular online virtual game world, Second Life, just to get a taste of how hundreds of thousands of people live out totally other identities – identities that might be much more interested in your product than you’d ever have guessed based on what you see of them under the usual circumstances.
Playing to who they dream they are. With your product to help them attain the new self. Imagine that.
Start with you. Who would you be if you could be anyone? What kind of a second life would you live?
As THAT person, what kinds of things would you buy and enjoy with others?