Many marketers are getting data all wrong. Are you?
Here are some stats I came across last week, and they should not surprise anyone. Anyone, of course, other than the marketers who chase after the 50-something demographic, because apparently, they’re doing it all wrong.
According to a study from social networking sites Gransnet and Mumsnet, 85% of Brits age 50 or over believe ads aimed at older people rely on stereotypes, with 79% claiming that advertisers patronize their age group.
It goes on to say that this group hates words like “older,” “‘silver,” “‘mature,” and “senior.” More than half (52%) say brands whose ads resonate with them win their business.
I can relate. Every once in a while, a perfectly lovely morning walk with our office dog is ruined by someone returning my good-morning greeting with a “Good-morning, sir.”
Other than this old man rant, as I would have labeled it had it come from my father and not me, what is the point? The point is that we apparently do not know our customers as much as we think we do. Clearly, we do not. It has to do with how we think of our customers.
Marketers who use language like silver, older, etc., for this market betray a simple secret: they are talking to their prospects as they see them: as a market segment, not as actual living human beings who happen to be part of a particular demographic. There is a significant difference, especially from a brand perspective. Understanding data means understanding people.
How on earth are we going to connect on an emotional level with our customers if we only see them as data points?
Don’t get me wrong: data and segmentation are crucial, but we mustn’t stop there. We must use that information to focus our resources, not to create the actual relationships that will build our brands and businesses.
So, what’s the answer? There is no substitute for customer intimacy, which comes from listening to them, either through your customer-facing teams or market research. We cannot assume we know our customers if we do not think of them as the actual people they are. Otherwise? Our brands and businesses may not make it to 50.
Spencer Brenneman, LLC