This is cute, but is completely irrelevant to my interests.
When JC Penney revealed their new store strategy and marketing campaign, two things stuck out more than anything else: the fair and square pricing model and the switch to a promotional calendar based on the month of the year.
In February, there was lots to love like Valentine’s Day, the Superbowl and the Oscars. People were mad for March, with events like the NCAA basketball tournament, St. Patrick’s day, and the start of Spring. April is hopping with Easter, getting ready for prom, Spring decor and recipes, and the start of baseball season.
For a brand like JCP, using a platform like Facebook or Twitter can be a great way to get your brand’s new promotions out there. But as a male Jewish college student, if I were to like JC Penney on Facebook or follow their messages on Twitter, I probably wouldn’t care about content related to Easter or prom. I would, however, be interested in JC Penney’s Major League Baseball related-content.
For JCP, the monthly promotions are amazingly broad and brilliant, yet completely limiting at the same time. A big department store needs to cater to multiple needs. However, this large amount of noise may deter me from seeing the messages I actually care about (in this case, baseball season).
What if JC Penney leveraged the interest graph to let me see only the stuff I care about during a given month? In other words, JCP can use their current marketing materials like they are on Facebook, but segment out based on the different interests they’ve created for April.
So for example, on a platform like Springpad they can create different notebooks based on the various topics for each month. April could include notebooks like:
These segmented notebooks could be a brilliant way for JCP to better deliver their monthly message. Instead of getting info on Easter Fun, a teenage girl could only choose to follow a notebook on Prom.
As more months pass, this information could become even more valuable to JCP’s marketing team. For example, if I’m a teenage girl and I’m interested in Valentine’s Day (February), spring flowers (March), Prom (April), this data will allow me to figure out exactly what type of content would be interesting to this target demographic in May (something flowery and lovey-dovey).
Without this information, I may have neglected to include a theme like this in my monthly messaging and only thought about Mother’s Day and graduation. Having this data would allow me to see there’s a need for a notebook with a similar interest style.
In order for the interest graph to work, it needs to still fall in line with your brand’s marketing campaign. For JCP, this means taking their current messaging, but delivering it in a new way.
This Springpad experience is still about monthly events, feelings, and milestones. April is still hopping, as the retailer wants us to think — the message is just being delivered in a more targeted way to each of it’s intended audiences. For JCP, that could mean more engaged consumers and better overall sales growth. Results like that could mean the retailer really experiences a hopping April.
Despite my criticism of Facebook not catering to Interests, I do this we’re seeing them start to aggregate that data to build new ways for people to get the information they care about (see Interests). I wouldn’t be surprised if we see pages be able to target content to users based on interests in the future as well with this sort of information becoming a more prevalent part of the Facebook platform.