Even before Gritty streaked in front of nearly 70,000 hockey fans in Lincoln Financial Field, the Flyers mascot laid a streak of lightning across social media with his irreverent debut in September 2018. Everything from his origin story to taunting the rival team on Twitter showed Gritty got his Philly fans, the first marketing challenge for all brands.

Pittsburgh may be the epicenter of self-driving Ubers, but the Internet of Things is already here in connected cars and is being used as a marketing vehicle every day. This tech is moving so fast, even car dealers need a primer — which Target Marketing’s sister brand, Dealerscope, is providing in a webinar on Tuesday.

When marketing to the youngest Millennials, let them talk to themselves. They trust each other more than they trust marketers, according to marketing vendor Industry Weapon. In other words, deploy user-generated content whenever possible. In a Thursday email to Target Marketing highlighting content from an older blog post, Industry Weapon at times sounds like it's just short of calling this youth segment "a bunch of whippersnappers."

The broad targeting of soccer moms and NASCAR dads was all in the past. Now it was about using “proclivity models” and other analytical tools to mobilize and persuade and make voter contact more efficient. Whether a voter was an 85 on the support scale or a six on the persuasion scale was more important than if she was a young African-American woman in Pittsburgh or he was an old Jewish man in Cleveland or vice versa. Some tech staffers had dismissed email as old-fashioned and uncool, without understanding how indispensable it would be in saving the campaign.

So why am I telling you this coming-of-age tale? Because it’s a coming-of-marketing tale, too. So often we’re all blinded by who we think our target market is that we just assume they want our product or service. They NEED it and we can just waltz over to them, even if we’re from completely opposite worlds, and just assume our values are the same. And this is doomed to fail. What I should have done was to listen to the way the popular girls talked, to what they wore, and what they liked.

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