Target Marketing: Speak Directly to Your Target Audience

The other day, I stumbled across an ad that caught my attention. The ad was for Careers 2.0, a site dedicated to programmers and the programming industry. What I found remarkable about this ad was the laser-fine focus it possessed. This ad was so specific about its target audience, there could be no mistake. Before I continue further,

Here is the ad:

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I saw this ad, I arrived at several conclusions:

  1. Its message has something to do with your job; thus the “Your Job.”
  2. It’s an ad promoting a job website of some kind. Maybe that’s what “Careers 2.0” is supposed to mean, right?
  3. The ad is written in HTML code; the basic markup language of the Internet. This is deduced by the use of the paragraph open and close tags (e.g. <p>, </p>).
  4. Now—and maybe this is a reflection on me—but my first assumption is that they’re saying something profane. I imagined something that rhymed with “Crew Your Job” or “Muck Your Job” written in the ASCII version of cartoon curse-squigglies. (Yes, it’s a technical term, “curse-squigglies”.)
  5. The ad is targeting programmers (who may still have to look up “&#x2665;”). Sure, other web folk may be caught like I was. This is definitely geek speak for something, but what?

The ad presented a mystery! To solve the puzzle, it was easy enough; just do a Google search on

&#x2665; html codes

and you’ll be able to discern very quickly that the ad actually reads:

? Your Job

As in, “Love Your Job”.

Awww. That was much better than what I was thinking. (Maybe I should talk to a professional about this?)


There you have it: an ad so targeted, you actually have to decode it to read it. In fact, you not only have to decode it, but you have to recognize it as code to begin with, which will be a barrier for a good-sized segment of the population. Of course, if it’s a barrier, it’s a good bet those folks are not the target market.

Not only did this ad compel me to stop what I was doing and research its meaning, but now I’m writing about it and sharing my experience with you. Obviously, this ad appeals to the web-oriented problem-solvers among us. If you like conquering riddles like a pirate on a treasure hunt, this ad was meant for you.

Marketing Challenge

What can you do to communicate with your target market on such a core level that you’re able to speak their native language to the exclusion of the rest of the world?