In marketing we call our target consumers. Yet not all marketing goals or messages are about increasing consumption. Sometimes marketers want the target market to consume something different, consume less, or simply consume an idea.
Patagonia famously ran an ad with the headline “Don’t Buy This Jacket” on Black Friday. They sell clothing, but their overall mission is, “We’re in business to save our home planet. We aim to use the resources we have–our voice, our business, and our community–to do something about our climate crisis.”
Patagonia balances selling new clothes with its mission. For example, they encourage consumers to consume less by trading in old Patagonia clothes to be resold with its Wornwear program. They call for climate action on Twitter, and share conservation messages on their YouTube channel.
One video features Salvar Una Cuenca running to save a watershed. Another has an employee explaining how to repair a zipper to keep a jacket longer. The message is getting through. In a recent Harris Poll, Patagonia is listed as the most reputable company in the U.S.
Sometimes marketers want consumers to consume more of their product by consuming more but by consuming something different. An example is Campbell’s sharing recipes featuring their condensed soup as a key ingredient.
Campbell’s meets the needs of busy adults giving them quick and easy recipes that while increasing purchase of their soup. They send the message where their target is looking for meal ideas with timely posts on Pinterest like “Get hammy with your Easter leftovers.”
Gatorade is another example. They don’t want their consumers to consume more sports drinks during workouts. They want their target to drink Gatorade over competitor Powerade.
They position themselves as hydration for high school athletes by helping their target tell their sports stories on social media. They created a free app “Highlights” for teen athletes to capture and share pro videos of their best sports moments.
A nonprofit or government agency often wants marketing messages that encourage consumers to consume less such as a natural resource conservation effort. Right now many western states are facing severe droughts. They need marketing messages to get residents to consume less water.
Some public health efforts aim for no consumption. The Truth anti-tobacco campaign has used marketing to reduce teen smoking. In the 1990s, they used PSA TV ads to reach their audience. Now Truth is reaching teens on Instagram and Youtube to reduce teen vaping.
Other marketing messages encourage donations. The nonprofit Dress for Success targets women on Facebook to donate their professional clothes, talents, and time to help other women obtain opportunities and reach economic independence.
What other goals do social media marketing efforts try to accomplish for organizations, businesses, or clients?
To learn more on consumers, target markets and target audiences see “Are You My Audience? 6 Misconceptions About Target Audiences in Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategy.”