Tag Archives: Psychographics

Photo: Flickr, theimpulsivebuy

Developing A Marketing Message: A Case Study Of Dr Pepper TEN’s Target Market

Creating a company or product’s marketing message can be daunting, but if you think in terms of everyday conversations, it may be an easier task to tackle. When developing marketing message, whether it is for a brochure, an advertisement, a website or even a social media post, the first thing to think about is who you are trying to target. In other words, what you say is largely determined by whom you are trying to say it to in order to create a message that will inspire them to buy.

A case study: Dr Pepper TEN

Last year’s marketing campaign promoting Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s new low-calorie drink, Dr Pepper TEN, took a leap and specifically targeted men instead of women. While diet drink companies have attempted this before, research showed that women still outnumber men in diet-drink purchasing. Dr Pepper recognized that men are less likely to choose diet sodas because they aren’t perceived as manly. So why launch the macho campaign with the headline, “It’s Not for Women”?

The target market

Marketers will typically break target markets into groups like male/female, ages 25 – 55, income of $75,000 per year or more, with children or without. Honing in on statistical data and behaviors (or psychographics) helps determine who a potential customer is, what they like to do, and how they like to communicate.

In the case of Dr Pepper, going after the male market was an effort to expand its market share in a product segment that is shrinking. As U.S. consumers continue to cut their soda consumption by opting for healthier drink selections like flavored waters and juice, Dr Pepper cooked up a new low-calorie recipe offering 10 calories and two grams of sugar to keep it relatively healthy, while claiming to be more flavorful than other diet drinks. Making an appeal to men, they hoped to increase sales and gain new customers.

Speaking to multiple markets

In most cases, a company or product may be targeting multiple markets, and as a result, the message may center on one main target but offer an appeal to others. Think of the Bud Light or AXE ads. Like Dr Pepper TEN, they are targeting men; but the humor in the ads also appeals to women.

Focusing an entire marketing campaign with a message directed to one market can pose a real risk. The Dr Pepper TEN campaign, which showed men running through jungles, leaping boulders and watching football, aggressively conveyed that women were not welcome, despite the fact that women represent 50.8 percent of the purchasing public.

Dr Pepper TEN ads aired on all major networks that are heavily watched by males, including FX and ESPN during college football games. The company also created a Facebook page for the drink, which contained an application that allowed fans to exclude women from viewing content, as well as games and videos geared to men.

The decision to ignore women, especially when they make a large majority of purchasing decisions, initially proved to be a mistake.

Immediately following the launch of the campaign, there was a large backlash and a glut of publicity bashing the company for ostracizing women. An article published in Smart Money titled “Angry Women Is Not What Dr Pepper Ordered” said the “for men only campaign backfired with both sexes.” It went on to say that, “The campaign appears to have driven women’s perception of Dr Pepper down, which may have an adverse effect on the overall brand’s sales of a product like Diet Dr Pepper.”

If a marketing campaign is supposed to attract attention, experts can agree that Dr Pepper achieved that. In the days and weeks after the campaign aired, every major media outlet was writing and talking about it. Despite the barrage of negative media coverage or because of it, the product and its campaign proved to be successful. According to Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s annual report published in March 2012, “in the first three months of national distribution, trial rates for Dr Pepper TEN were nearly nine percent, significantly above other new innovation launches.” The report also went on to state, “the great taste of Dr Pepper TEN, which is targeted at men who don’t like the image of diet beverages, has resulted in consumers – male and female – asking for more TEN options.”

Fast forward just one year after the “It’s Not for Women” campaign launched, an article appearing in October 2012 in the Wall Street Journal discusses disappointing overall sales for the company with a drop in five of the company’s six soda brands. The bright spot that showed growth ― Dr Pepper TEN.

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Small Business Leadership Academy

2012 Small Business Leadership Academy: A Fresh Look At Marketing

Management guru Peter Drucker said, “the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Business owners in the 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) are taking a fresh look at marketing with guidance from Douglas Olsen, associate professor of marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The basis of marketing, he explained, is the knowledge of what customers want, need and will pay for. But many companies, Olsen added, start with a great idea and then expect the customers to find it. The problem is that many of the entrepreneurs never bothered to think about whether anyone needs their big idea. A product can be the best gizmo ever built, but if it doesn’t fulfill a customer’s desires or needs, it won’t succeed. In other cases, even if the product or service is great, the people so close to the product sometimes tend to talk too much about the features and the technical details — to a point where they do not truly convey to the customer the real benefits or identify needs being served.

Nonetheless, many successful companies have this figured out, Olsen said. Michelin famously used images of babies sitting in the middle of a tire as a way of saying that they were selling you safety for your family — not just a tire. Not a lot of jargon, just one very compelling message.

The Michelin ad demonstrates the effective use of segmentation. Once you understand your customers, Olsen said, you can use segmentation to target your marketing to them. Segmentation is the process of dividing the market into groups. Consumers may be grouped based on geography,  demographics, benefits, behaviors or psychographics.

Psychographics, for example, are personality characteristics. Olsen showed the group three ads for a certain style of watch. One featured a close-up of a physically imposing man. The second showed a man sitting alone, reading. The third was Pierce Bronson, leaning toward the camera in an impeccable jacket and tie. The ads exemplify psychographic marketing. The first ad with the macho figure appeals to a market segment of men who want to be physically strong; the second ad would appeal to the “self actualizer”; Pierce Bronson personifies the sophistication and daring that another group desires.

In next week’s class we’ll dive deeper into the competitive advantage that services may provide and students will share some of the blueprints that they developed to apply to their business.


Listen to the podcast on W.P. Carey’s website.


The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U.S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit SBLA’s website.