Marketing is an art that requires a solid foundation of science for ultimate success. If you are a marketer and don’t know your market, you have failed at the very core of your business and success will depend on ephemeral luck. None of that is new, of course; Edward Bernays codified it in the 1920s, but it had been well understood for a very long time.
The micro-collection of marketing data — from grocery till receipts to phone use, google searches and online buying, twitter comments, FaceBook likes, and employment patterns, surveys and polls — has become a part of all our lives. To service a mass market efficiently, this enormous breadth of data has to be analyzed, compared, and condensed into marketing packages or groups. That’s part of the art.
The industry in the following image, taken from Visual Capitalist, is of less interest than the breakdown of the market into what the industry considers manageable groups from a marketing perspective. Select the image to get a closer view.
You can already see some of the key words and phrases that marketers will use to aim at a particular segment.
The real point to make here is that every large company in every industry is conducting this kind of detailed research into you and your habits every hour of every day. I recognise the value that some of that brings to some, perhaps all. But I also recognize and have concerns about the dangers that arise when someone else has so much information about you that you can be manipulated to do things you would really rather not do — like vote for Trump, or sacrifice your rights for some petty convenience.
I have never been particularly gregarious, preferring small groups to large, and solitary or couple time over any other. I notice this has grown more pronounced as I’ve aged, possibly as a result of mobility issues adding weight to the preference. The point is, that this stay-at-home phase of the pandemic doesn’t really bother me.
Or so I thought. I woke up this morning with an urgent craving to go have breakfast someplace, almost any place, on the Drive; to sit with others and enjoy the street cabaret. Even if I were to go out, I would find nothing open. So it was one of those pointless longings, but I could not shake it. And it made me think that if this lock-down was having such an effect on someone quite used to staying home, then it must be awful for those who were previously out there living lives in motion, out and about every day.
But the demographics are not clearly defined. I have people in England even older than me, 80-year old plus friends and relatives of my Mother, who are champing at the bit to get outdoors, hating every moment they are locked up. But my daughter and my granddaughter, who have always worked hard and enjoyed their jobs, are just blissing out on the relaxation of being home all day. They have even dropped off social media.
It sure is an odd time. I’ve got bacon cooking on the stove, so I feel better now.