The single legitimate “teachable moment” for marketing from the world of politics is segmentation. Because the opportunities to learn are so few and far between, this artilce in The New York Times September 2nd “Sunday Review” nearly jumped off its printed pages.
Sasha Issenberg’s “Why Campaign Reporters Are Behind The Curve” should be required reading for anyone with the word “marketing” in his title or job description. Here are some nuggets worth rereading five times every day.
“Politicians have always looked for ways to communicate differently with niche audiences…but they had been stuck approaching them in terms of geographic zones or familiar demographic subgroups…”
Change “they had” to “they have” and you’ve described the current state for 90% of marketers.
Putting An End To Spray-And-Pray
“Over the last decade…campaigns have modernized their techniques…They have access to private collections of data and from their analysis of it have been able to reach empirical, if tentative, conclusions about what works and what doesn’t.”
This achievement took strategic investment of money and time on data analytics. Few marketers have a long-enough view. Or the brains. Or the balls.
Marketing’s Faux Segmentation
“…they were changing politics by ignoring stodgy old demographics and instead pinpointing voters according to their lifestyles.”
Marketers hire consultants to do that too. Then they ignore the results and ask the media team to buy ad space based on stodgy old demographics.
A Classic Definition of A Segment
“Now, instead of defining voters by a handful of self-evident attributes like rural Hispanic Democratic men or non-college-educated white seniors, campaigns could group individual citizens…not by visible demographic commonalities but because they were projected to behave in similar ways.”
Those last nine words should be posted on every cubicle wall in your marketing department.
The Myth Of Big Data
“We may be covering the horse race with more bytes and airtime than ever before, but we’re looking at the wrong part of the track and don’t know how many legs are on a thoroughbred.”
Interesting, that in all the talk about Big Data this year, no one – no one – ever brings up how it can help with customer segmentation.