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The100: The demise of segmentation, research narcissism and the Wild West

Would you be up for this?

I’m trying to gauge interest for an in-person event we’re planning in London on 16th May 2024 (mark it in your diaries). 

It’s called ‘You are not your consumer’ and will explore perspective taking, echo chambers and stereotyping. Plus what the dangers they pose in commercial decision making and how you can stop them.

We’ve decided not to charge this year as we know it’s a pain to get sign off on this stuff.

But, before we hit the go-button, I’m trying to gauge if people would be interested in attending. Could you let me know here? (No commitment needed, just an indication of interest.) 

The Marketing Reality Movement

Richard Huntington has argued that marketers are building alternate realities. He says that it’s being fueled by the infrastructure of research and 3 problems in particular: 

  • Institutional narcissism (only asking people about brands, not their lives), 
  • Segmentations, and 
  • Generational marketing.

Huntington is encouraging those who care about truly connecting with people to make a series of pledges, including to:

  • Commit a significant proportion of our research budgets – say 20% – to simply understanding peoples’ lives on their terms and not through the lens of our brands and businesses.
  • […] pledge to get out of the viewing facility […] All research has context and so should be undertaken on a customer’s territory and not ours.

(An invite to speak at our event is en route, Richard! 😀) 

Mark Ritson also recently spoke about the pointlessness of segmentation (event invite also extended).

Rethinking the Change Gospel

Many business pundits will say that we’re living in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, one where everything moves faster. But Gary Satell suggests that this is a myth and uncorks some superb advice in the process:

“The truth is that there is very little evidence that is the case and a veritable mountain to the contrary […]  People don’t embrace change because you came up with a fancy slogan, they adopt what they find meaningful, that creates genuine value to their lives and their work . […] We need to think less about disruption and more about tackling grand challenges that will impact the world in significant ways. Innovation should serve people, not the other way around.”

Too much to watch

Alex Mahon, CEO of the UK TV Channel 4, recently presented the findings from their research on the following:

  1. Why has video grown so much that it now absorbs people for more than 5 hours a day?
  2. How do types of content make people feel and what are their emotional reactions?
  3. What benefits do they get from watching?

It’s well worth the read. I wonder how similar/different the findings would look elsewhere in the world?

“I’m looking for a really big hit for Aretha”

What makes for the perfect brief? As well as a lovely story about Aretha Franklin and the song Natural Woman, Ian Leslie says:

A good creative brief can’t be so wide that it gives no direction, nor so tight that it cuts off fruitful pathways you haven’t considered but that your team might discover by themselves. Two fundamental questions always pertain: ‘Am I being clear enough about what I want?’ and ‘Am I being too clear about what I want?’’

And finally…

The history of the emoji. Turns out that we have Japanese high school girls to thank.

Which news publishers are blocking OpenAI, Google AI and Common Crawl? 

I’ve been watching the YouTube channel ‘Answers with Joe’ and have been drawn into many bizarre and interesting videos, but I especially liked the one on Tumbleweed (it didn’t show up until the end of the “Wild West” period).

And please don’t forget to help me with the event if you have a few minutes.

The final “And finally…”

I’ve been trying to keep Fridays clear to chat with clients; to hear about what’s new with them, to answer any burning questions they may have about the industry, and update them on the latest from Watch Me Think towers. If you fancy having a chat about anything like that, just pop in some time here.