The target market is everything in marketing (well, not really, but it’s a lot). But should targeting one particular segment or persona at the expense of others be pursued?

Let’s have a little look.

I’ve seen quite a few pieces recently about technology alienating people. Using examples such as QR codes as menus in pubs, bars and restaurants, which alienate those without smartphones and/or the technical know-how to scan a code for starters (pun intended). 

There are also those very irritating app only car parks, by which I mean you can only pay via an app. Again, what if you don’t have a smartphone? Or space on your phone for an additional app? Or the wrong kind of phone? Or even a phone at all? Or have a disability which makes phone or app use difficult or impossible? 

Ditto any kind of public transport ticketing system – buses, trains, trams – that have ditched or plan to ditch any kind of physical ticketing system in place of app based ones. 

We can throw cinemas, holidays, tourist attractions and accessing some healthcare services into the mix too – arguably all more used by those over 50 who are a segment all in their own right and are often designed out of things.

Embracing tech (and potentially lowering the running costs for operators, and heckarama those savings being passed on to the consumers) is all well and good, but honestly it blows my mind that those being alienated and/or excluded have not been considered by my peers – those doing the marketing/comms/PR/social media/copywriting on these things. Clearly, they undoubtedly will have in many cases, and maybe this is just my ‘WE NEED TO SHOUT LOUDER’ call to arms.

We’re not talking minorities here in numbers terms. We’re talking about big numbers via lots of small groups of minorities being excluded from products and services due to them being designed out of using things. It’s just not good enough.

Like I said already there are tons of examples – I’m sure you have your own – where tech has failed you or baffled you and things that should be progressive have actually been made progressively more difficult. I shouted at a self-service till just last week. I had to rely on the kindness of strangers in helping pay for car parking on hols when the machine was only app or cash-based and we didn’t have the right cash. Had it taken cards too the queue would have been non-existent and there would have been more harmonious groups of people prepared to splash the cash in the delightful town rather than setting off in a huff after stresses created by the car park debacle.

We (those in marketing/comms/PR/social media/copywriting) have to be asking the whatabout questions. Yeah, great, but what about the (insert multiple diverse groups who may not have been considered here)? What’s the alternative? What back ups are in place? How do those without smartphones access this service? Etc etc

Let’s remove barriers, point out the flaws and make sure we’re not writing, designing, marketing, PRing products or services that alienate from the off.