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One of my previous posts was about how we view written content via mobile devices. It got me to thinking about the debate of whether or not “print is dead?” This too is a question pondered by Stephanie (@stooffi) from the Penn-Olson blog and in which I’ve borrowed some points of data from. It’s also contemplated by Steve Laube in another excellent post.
They both share my sentiments that they don’t see print going the way of the dodo however we differ somewhat in our rationales. What I’d like to do here is offer some observational reasons as to why I think print isn’t dead to augment Stephanie and Steven’s very good more data driven arguments.
If you subscribed to conventional wisdom you might think that let’s say that within 10 years magazines would be ancient history with books to follow shortly behind them. You might think that certainly about newspapers and there is a decent case for that.
Some quick stats to initially contradict those who firmly believe print is bound for extinction (from @stooffi via Sketchee):
- 93% of adults in the U.S. read magazines
- 96% of adults under 35 in the U.S. read magazines
- Book sales are up 11.4%
- Sales for higher-education publishing have increased 27.4%
- E-book sales have increased 204% (keep in mind this is a category that didn’t exist a mere few years ago so I’d take that growth with a grain of salt)
- 60% of consumers say they plan to purchase a tablet device within three years (what isn’t known is if they say they will purchase that device in place of a laptop)
Considering the data alone, I’m not so quick to put a nail in print’s coffin. With this being said, I’d like to offer a defense of print that is more observational relative to behavior/culture.
The first is case for print is that print is tactile. People like tactile. People comment on things like paper stock and gloss or matte finish with reverence.
The second is people like pictures. Big glossy, shiny, pretty pictures.
To be fair, I think it’s necessary to place a distinction on content that can be read versus content that can be viewed. The former would be lifestyle/niche magazines and the latter being more business, news and to some degree sports publications.
Logic would tell me that business, news and sports news magazines very well might have one foot in the grave because I think there’s a dramatic shift occurring in how people consume that type of content as my previous post “Where I’d like to read it” would suggest. As I write this, US News & World Report announced it is shuttering its print edition. And to add even further support this consider this recent article from Mashable.com clearly indicating that among smartphone users mobile is exactly how they like to consume.
However, I think we’re highly unlikely to see the demise of magazines entirely anytime soon. In fact in July 2010 there were 68 new magazine titles added versus 34 in July 2007. The difference is that most of the new titles were largely specialty magazines or magazines to serve a certain niche (often content to be viewed).
Consider a reason why? Have you been in a teenager’s room lately? If you’re looking at BOP or Tiger Beat online via an iPad, you can’t rip out the picture of Justin Bieber or Katy Perry and put it on your wall. Or rip a picture out from eurotuner of that sweet tuned BMW M3. Or the rad picture of Shaun White flying out of a half-pipe.
In addition, I believe a good amount of people still appreciate the “coffee table” book. This and certain magazines are a way we brand ourselves. For many they’re forms of “decoration” carefully placed around the home.
Chief among the reasons I don’t see print as going away anytime soon is that we haven’t changed how the youngest learn to consume print. Yes, my two year old niece can take out her Dad’s iPad, turn it on, flip three screens and start a game but how she learns to consume print will likely not change anytime soon. In fact, recent research would suggest that college students haven’t taken to eReaders as expected. And this might be a logical place to begin to see a cultural shift. I’m still not entirely sure we’ve crossed the chasm with eReaders/tablets. There I said it.
Granted my father-in-law is 74 and has had a Kindle since its inception. This inspired me to ask a few people with eReaders why they bought it. Number one reason? Because they travel a lot and that way they don’t have to carry a physical book. Airport bookstores consider yourselves warned. However, this lumps those who purchase eReaders/tablets into a specific category. In this case the eReader fill a specific need that people are willing to change how they consume content.
I’ll offer one final example of how embedded the way we learn to consume written content is.
I have two daughters ages 7 and 4. The two of them participate in a program called the “Thousand Book Club”.
This is a program where at their elementary school there are some 200 bags of books. Each bag has 10 children’s books. The goal of the program is to either read (or be read to) 1000 books by the time they finish kindergarten. It’s a wonderful program as you might suspect but the point is that it’s a heavily quantitative experience with books.
At the end of the day we’ve only barely begun to change how we interact with written content and until that happens drastically, I don’t see print going away.
What do you think?
Today, one can argue that the consumer marketplace is exceptional fractured. As a society we may do things in groups but what these groups look like has changed dramatically. Companies segment consumers all sort of ways but it generally involves falling back on household income, gender and race or ethnicity. For the purposes of any efficiency in marketing it is still required to find the greatest number of individuals to market to. But the reality is as most commercials will show, there’s really very little actual insight there.
Take a look at most commercials and they either simply push a product or play off a general consumer sentiment. Beyond that there is usually very little there to actually connect with the consumer.
Not too long ago I was approached by the agency for New Era, the baseball hat and apparel company. They said that there was a flaw in their segmentation of customers and wanted help understanding what it was and perhaps a better way to segment their customers. They segmented them by “Urban”, “Suburban” and “Fan”. The flaw was simple. You could reside in suburbia, have urban sensibilities and be a fan. Furthermore it didn’t really tell you anything about their customers. We designed a segmentation based on how people wore their hats. The initial breakdown was as follows:
So how does this new possible segmentation inform?
It can inform in multiple ways. It enables us to truly understand the consumer and what social groups they might belong to. Are they action sports kids? Maybe. But that’s not good enough. Because there are sub-cultures within action sports groups. Are they action sports hip-hop kids or action sports metal kids? BIG DIFFERENCE. Are they college frat boys? Are they girls? Are they “rad” girls or “bad” girls or “good” girls or “emo” or “goth” girls or “preppy” girls?
If you map the types of hats to sales you can identify patterns or anomalies that will heavily dictate what and how much product you might supply to various retailers. You can identify where you might participate in or sponsor events. You can identify which radio stations you might advertise on or if you do at all. The insights and variables are virtually endless.
As the consumer landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, it’s not something to be scared of or intimidated by but it is necessary to get out of your traditional comfort zone and start being creative with understanding your customers. And funny thing is, the more you actually show that you truly understand your customer, the greater loyalty you will inspire.
As I gear up for tonight’s episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, I was struck by something from last week’s episode.
If you haven’t been watching the new AMC series, the story is that a Sherriff awakens from a Coma to discover that the world has been overwrought by flesh eating zombies. Simple premise however character development is really quite excellent as you’d expect from AMC.
In last week’s episode there is a scene where a young man in his mid to late teens is being asked to investigate if there is a safe way out a certain situation. In this scene he’s reluctant because he’s typically been by himself and ever since he’s been a part of a group all hell has broken loose.
The Sherriff defaults to be a natural leader and tells the kid, to speak his mind. An interesting dynamic is taking place here and isn’t to go unnoticed.
He basically says he’ll do it but if he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it his way. The Sherriff agrees on behalf of the group. What happens next is interesting. With tactical precision this “kid” proceeds to say what he’s going to do and how and then gives precise orders to everyone else. Everyone has a specific job for a reason.
This moment would not have struck me if I hadn’t actually witnessed something similar a several years ago (sans the zombies).
I was at a bachelor party in Montreal and a bunch of 35 year old guys were going to try our hand at paintball. We’re all smart, well educated guys with a passing interest in military and cop movies and so forth and we thought we’d do pretty well. Especially when we saw who we’d be competing against. A bunch of scrappy 16-18 year olds with pimples and ill-fitting pants. We would fail to observe that they all brought their own equipment and that they were discussing strategy from the moment they got there.
The game would commence and ten well-educated 35 year olds would be “dead” within the first 5 minutes of the game. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for these kids.
How the hell did this happen?
It’s simple. Most of these kids grew up not having read one Tom Clancy book but have all mastered every one of the Tom Clancy X-Box games and had done it in “groups” via headset with other kids all over the world. Not only were they able to live out close quarters combat via first-person shooting games and mastery of strategy but they were able to live it out real-time as well via paintball. And they were good. After two games of getting our asses summarily handed to us we did exactly what you might expect. We bribed two of their best kids to trade teams if only to save our pride. Then we proceeded to let a 17 year old tell each one of us where to go and what to do.
This was hardly a life or death situation but we recognized that left to our own devices we didn’t stand a chance. While it might seem counterintuitive for a bunch of type-A alpha males to default to some kid, it was the smartest thing we could have done.
We won by a hair.
So when the world is being overrun by Zombies… I’m looking for those guys.
“RT @MalikYoba: RT…Twitter makes me like strangers I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life.”
I couldn’t help but agree but I didn’t know why. That was until I received a copy of Grant McCracken’s new book, “Chief Culture Officer”. This is an excellent read named one of the best Innovation books of the year by Business Week and one of the best Big Idea books by CEO Magazine.
But I digress.
In “Chief Culture Officer” McCrackan references the old Nike ad “Tag”. I remember the ad vividly.
In it is a live version of tag played out in the middle of the day on urban streets. Mr. McCrackan offers a few theories on why this ad resonated and what it meant to us culturally. The third of those theories is what he calls the notion of the “generous stranger”.
Although referring to the ad, he might as well be referring to Twitter as well in saying,
“’Tag’ evoked a third trend we might call the ‘generous stranger’. For many of us first notice came in the form of a bumper sticker that read ‘Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty,’ a phrase so influential it now has its own Wikipedia entry. Several thousand years of cultural practice and religious teaching had encouraged us to think of generosity as a personal gesture that passed between known parties. The ‘generous stranger’ trend suggested that it was better when things passed between perfect strangers. “
And thus Twitter suddenly makes perfect sense.
Recently I was having a conversation with a colleague. She’s a director of marketing at a large .com enterprise. We’ll call her Julie.
She was describing to me how hard her job is these days and how little confidence she has in decision making.
When I look at advertising today and most marketing for that matter I believe that this is a sentiment shared by many a CMO/Director of Marketing.
We’d like to say there is tremendous innovation going on but if I’m not mistaken, didn’t the Super Bowl ads sell out a full three months ahead of schedule this year?
If you live in places like New England, around this time of year you’re faced with having to deal with leaves. The once beautiful foliage is now dispersed all over your yard and to preserve your green grass you’re advised to do something with it. Techniques vary, my personal favorite is to pay someone else to deal with it but my wife has frugal sensibilities and thus there I am on a lovely Sunday with this 2-stroke contraption strapped to my back known as a leaf blower. This is hardly a precision instrument but useful.
As leaves are flying about it dawned on me, this is what Julie was talking about. This is what consumer marketing has become. An exercise in trying to corral leaves.
Once upon a time, they sat on trees and were easily categorized. Oak, Maple, Redwood, Japanese Maple and so on.
But then they all changed colors, fell to the ground and there was no order anymore.
And so is the job of anyone who works in marketing these days. To try and create a natural, efficient and sensible order to the chaos of these leaves being blown amok.
Several years ago I was with a good friend and mentor Paul McKinnon. He used to run human resources for Dell. A job which he now does for all of Citigroup. He’s a very smart and affable guy with grad degrees in behavioral science from MIT.
At the time we were talking about Mac vs PC and he said this… “You know the Apple market represents about 5% of market share for all personal computers. Always have and always will. We really don’t worry about them.” In other words, they kind of just let them have it.
Obviously Apple is a much different company from when I had this conversation but I think you’ll see the point.
Lately there’s been a lot of talk about Apple and Steve Jobs. Well there’s always a lot of talk about Apple and Steve Jobs. But in particular three things struck me.
- The first was a tweet I saw that “60% of Apple’s revenue was from products that didn’t exist three years ago”.
- The second was an article about whether iPhone’s “closed” or Android’s “open” would prevail.
- And the third was Steve Jobs comments about his “competition” and subsequent feedback from CEOs from RIM and Android.
Here’s the deal. Apple innovates. Period. The end. Everyone else essentially copies. Apple sets the standard and everyone else tries to reach an acceptable level to be adopted by the masses.
The question for Apple is if they’re content being that company. That’s where Steve Jobs’ comments perplex me a bit.
In my opinion, the best businesses in the world are the ones in which the CEO (and employees) know what business they’re really in. It’s not so much as knowing what to do but rather knowing what not to do.
In this case I think it’s for Apple to not even think about BlackBerry or Android or the other tablet devices and accept its position as a company of innovation. There will always be a market for those that just have to have it. The key is for shareholders to recognize this as well and not pressure Apple to be something it isn’t. Yes it’s a trade-off but in my mind a critical one. Author Kevin Maney does a great job talking about this in his book aptly titled just that… “Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On and Other’s Don’t”.
Because at the end of the day, as Harvard Business School Professor Yoffie said: “Apple will lose its overall leadership, but maintain a share of the market that could easily be in the 25 percent to 30 percent range… That’s enough to sustain a very large and very profitable business.”
So this is hardly a new topic but I thought I’d throw my two cents in there after an experience at an AT&T store the other day.
I was in need of a new phone but I had been avoiding going to AT&T because I wasn’t sure if I was eligible for an upgrade and didn’t want to pay full price for a phone. I was avoiding the store because I didn’t want to have a fight about being an AT&T customer for the better part of 12 years and why couldn’t they give me the promotional price for a new BlackBerry Torch.
I was avoiding the store to AVOID customer service.
However being at my wits end with my failing phone, I put my head down and headed in. Fortunately I was eligible for an upgrade and actually had a very good customer experience.
The same can’t be said for the lady next to me however. This poor woman was from another state visiting a sick relative in the hospital. Her phone died and being unable to fix it and having no contact with home she came into the store. The staff at the store was also unable to fix it and said she would need a new phone but she was two months and a day away from being eligible for an upgrade and thus would have to pay full price ($220) to replace her phone.
As my lovely sales agent was getting me all set with my new phone I stood there and listened to this woman exasperated deal with two sales agents and one customer service representative on the phone to lobby to be granted an exclusion to get a new phone. Ultimately she was given a new phone with a new contract but what it took to get there seems preposterous.
I went into the AT&T store fully ready to take my business to Verizon and although I left moderately pleased, I still left with an overall negative impression.
Folks. Customer service IS your brand.
Is “customer service,” marketing? You’re damn right it is.
A friend of mine, Joe Cronin, owns a company called Edvisors.com (@edvisors). It’s a college student marketing company.
(Full disclosure: Joe is a close personal friend and my company sub-leases space from him)
Joe started the company about 12 years ago by buying up just about every URL related to education and student loans and has built it into a nicely profitable business that employs about 12 people and has its own corporate foundation. The business is essentially an intermediary between college students and service providers. Joe is one of the nicest guys on the planet. His company doesn’t deal with shady lenders and a great deal of his sites are dedicated to helping people navigate the college universe.
He’s got a database of about 2 million students and pulls in about 150,000 new users each month. His site is the epitome of the little engine that could.
Early on when we moved into his office space we were in the kitchen and I noticed a lined piece of notebook paper on the fridge. I took a look and it was a handwritten, single spaced, double-sided letter from a college Sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University. He was writing to say thank-you.
First of all… who hand writes letters anymore? Let alone thank-you letters? To companies? Let alone college Sophomores?
This letter in particular was addressed to ScholarshipPoints.com. The way it works is simple.
1) Sign-up to ScholarshipPoints.com
2) Earn points by completing simple, fun activities (surveys, etc). Each point you earn is worth one entry into the free scholarship of your choice.
3) Enter your points into multiple scholarships, or use all of your points towards one free scholarship to increase your chance of winning.
The site has more than one million members and is growing at about a rate of 100,000 members a month. In 4 years they’ve given away more than 60 scholarships between $1,000 and $10,000.
I’ll share with you a few excerpts from this letter…
“Dear ScholarshipPoints.com management,
Though I had no specific individual to whom I could address this letter, I am hoping all of you have the chance to read it because I intend it for all of you. I am continually thankful for and impressed by Scholarship Points! The site is such a generous philanthropic venture… I hope to be a winner at Scholarship Points one day also, but I am most thankful for the incredible information provided on the site.
I have been “money-conscious” since early high-school, but Scholarship Points’ articles, which I discovered late in my first year of college, were the catalyst to my becoming money-responsible! The site is the reason I got my first credit card (Citi Dividends!) and a large contributing reason to my use of ING Direct Orange Savings. The resources on your site sparked my investment in myself and personal finance and this new learning is inspiring me to pay off my loans while in school and graduate debt free. I’m finally taking real responsibility for my money and am so thankful for the resources and encouragement I found at Scholarship Points.”
He then goes on to very graciously ask several questions about entrepreneurship. The folks at Edvisors did answer him back.
He closes by saying…
“I wish the very best for the Scholarship Points program and the various sister sites united under the Edvisors banner. I am incredibly grateful for all I’ve learned there and I hope to become a scholarship recipient. I know the others probably expressed gratitude for your program by which this short letter is overshadowed! I hope to hear back from you and until then, I am
In my humble opinion, this is one of the best love letters to a company I’ve ever seen and the guy hasn’t even won a scholarship yet. That it comes from a Sophomore in college gives me hope for the future. But in all seriousness it demonstrates a few very powerful dynamics:
1) The power of a good idea and sound business strategy will win most of the time. @edwardboches had this to say in one of his recent blogs about Panera’s new non-profit endeavor, “This week’s Fast Company declared that the most important leadership quality a CEO can possess is creativity. Not operations. Not finance. Not management. Creativity. Creativity means breaking with the status quo, trying things that have never been done, innovating on a regular basis.”
2) Having a company with good core values will win most of the time and it starts with the leadership. Of course Joe desires to make money but it’s clear a greater motivation is to provide avenues for more kids to be able to have access to higher education. For the record, Joe’s dad was once a state secretary of education and a president of a local university. Education is in Joe’s DNA.
3) Consistently providing valuable, relevant and meaningful content will allow for a strong and meaningful relationship with the consumer.
4) You can do well by doing good.
Cadillac broke new work today by BBH. All I have to say is, why?
This work is no better than the last few rounds of work by Modernista! or the work of their previous agency. I will give Modernista! props for the “My Cadillac Story” effort but Cadillac a thumbs down for abandoning it.
The line “Mark of Leadership” is meaningless especially when they’ve been playing catch-up to the Europeans, Japanese and now Korean’s (Hyundai Genesis) when it comes to quality. Simply saying it does not make it so. Sure the blokes at Top Gear found new love for the second generation CTS-V but they weren’t making apples-to-apples comparisons to other Euro (M5,RS4, C63)/Japanese (IS-F). The comments in the AdAge article are all sadly accurate. Probably the best comment was about the tagline being “destined for the ‘one year and out’ dumpster.”
Most importantly what tis shows me is that what Cadillac nor BBH seems to understand is that :30 spots aren’t necessarily the name of the game anymore. Start with a great product and build compelling content around that product at strategic touch-points. It’s great that Cadillac has a YouTube channel but judging from the total views of all of the work on their channel (885,329) the “content” is hardly compelling. You want compelling content? Have a look at Ken Block’s DC Shoes/Monster Energy Drink/Subaru“infomercial” which is at 14 million views and counting. The aggregate of the DCShoesFilm Channel is at 34 million views and counting.
Cadillac has a great story to tell. Did you know the gear shift pattern/pedal configuration as we know it is courtesy of Cadillac? It’s unfortunate that no one is able to help Cadillac try to tell it.
Before you all start to think this is going to be some freaky NSFW blog post, I assure you that’s not the case.
I will offer a disclosure that there are links to fun pop culture points of reference that might be deemed offensive. If you’re averse to strong language or content that might be deemed offensive, don’t click on them.
Lastly, I’m sure there will be plenty who will accuse this post of being simplistic, racist, enforcing stereotypes, short-sighted and I’m sure the list will go on. To you, I urge you to comment and make your case. What I can tell you for certain is that this post will pose far more questions than it answers but I look forward to a lively debate. And away we go…
Several years ago my wife had an opportunity to go to two sex toy parties.
The first was a portion of a bachelorette party among a group of women who were white and from well-to-do backgrounds. Picture the scene from the movie Old School with Andy Dick (except sans Andy Dick). Regardless, it was shall we say, tempered and at times awkward.
The second was among a very diverse group of women. One is the wife of a good friend who’s a local creative director. We’ll call her Allie. She’s Puerto Rican and Jewish and grew up on Manhattan’s lower East Side well before it was a fashionable place to be. She’s stunningly attractive and smart as a whip and has a mouth that would make a sailor blush. She could go to a Lisa Lampanelli show (strong language/content) and if Lampanelli started to give her the business as comedians are wont to do, Lampanelli would get it right back and the show would end with the two of them best friends. Allie is one of the funniest people I know by far. Among the other women at the party were a few women that I worked with and much like Allie would routinely make the guys in the agency feel like Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas when he enlists the services of Elizabeth Shue and she describes what she’s willing to do (strong language/content). There were also a handful of other women of various ethnicities, mostly Black and Hispanic and none afraid to make their opinions known.
My understanding about this second sex toy party was that it was remarkably graphic, honest and funny to the point that more than one woman had to excuse themselves to relieve themselves lest they soil a couch from laughing so hard.
What I find most interesting about the foray into this topic is that most will fail to ask the question, “Yes, but why?”
I met a sociology professor a few years ago and we were talking about a variety of things and I posed the question to him of “Why Jews were so intent on dating/marrying/procreating only other Jews?” I had dated a couple of Jewish women during college and after and was curious why the relationships seemed doom to fail. I naively believed what popular culture had told me. Nice Jewish boys want to marry their moms and nice Jewish girls want to be provided for the way their fathers had provided for them. The professor smirked and then provided a much simpler and enlightening answer. “If your race were almost systematically eliminated by a single force of evil and tyranny, wouldn’t you do anything in your power to restore the foundation of the lineage?”
I won’t digress into a debate of interracial dating in which all trends point to a ridiculous literal melting pot but I got his point. The insight was a much deeper understanding of what drove the behavior. And if I were tasked with creating advertising for a Jewish personals web site, that insight would no doubt influence the creative, perhaps not explicitly but at the very least tonally.
So my question about the sex toys party is yes, but why? Why was there such a remarkable difference?
Was it race, socio-economics, culture, birth order, a combination? Are white upper-class folks really so uptight and can’t let it all hang out? Are they inherently repressed? (strong language)
Are the Tyler Perrys or Tracy Morgans or Mo’Niques truly representative of black folks? I will say, put a bunch of black folks on a dance floor and we’ll make this summer’s most popular line dance look good. Still the question is valid, have black folks gotten white folks to chill out perhaps as Sin LaSalle played by Cedric the Entertainer from the movie “Be Cool” might suggest (strong language)?
To further confuse things, for the purposes of this post, let’s use the formal definitions of culture as:
- “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.”
- “Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.”
In other words I’m not solely limiting culture to say that of “country of origin” which I believe is highly limiting. I myself would say that I’m defined by at least 10 different cultures/sub-cultures built up throughout my exposure to a variety of people and experiences throughout my life. This would include, Black culture specifically as it relates to the Civil Rights movement, Beat Generation writers, 60s drug culture, 80s preppy culture, 80s punk culture, early action sports culture, traditional sports culture, feminist culture, Italian-American culture, Higher Ed Academia and so on.
My wife was raised Catholic, the youngest of four kids. While young she knew modest beginnings having grown up in central Massachusetts to fiscally conservative parents. Her mom can reuse a sheet of tinfoil longer than anyone. As she got older however she became accustomed to a very fortunate lifestyle and was exposed to yacht clubs and country clubs. While she graduated from a regional high school outside of Worcester, MA, she summered on the Cape and graduated from the best private undergraduate and graduate schools and is considerably well traveled. She’s highly philanthropic and after college did Teach For America. Today she continues work as a guidance counselor at a struggling high school in a neighboring town that would literally qualify as “the other side of the tracks”. My wife has the gift of being universally and unconditionally accepting and accepted and can float from class sphere to class sphere effortlessly.
Knowing this let’s look at some similar themes of the two groups:
The first group was predominantly white women from the more insular communities in which my wife was a part. It’s accurate to say that this community represents the top five percent of the country from a socio-economic perspective. This is a group where I can attest first hand that there is a degree to what is deemed acceptable behavior/conduct.
If the second group was unified by any one thing, it is likely socio-economic. Not necessarily by current status but by background. Almost everyone in the group despite their current status came from relatively humble beginnings. Additionally, I suspect in some cases, birth order and gender played a role among several of the women in the second group as well including my wife. If you look at each of my wife’s siblings starting from the oldest, they are each more relaxed than the next with my wife being the most relaxed and most influenced (socially) by her older brother closest in age. Call it a stereotype but the most crass women I’ve ever known almost unanimously have at least one older brother.
Are there anomalies? Of course. Fellas, if you were going to Vegas for a guy’s weekend would you prefer to go with Clarence Thomas or Tracy Morgan. Ladies would you prefer a Vegas weekend with Condoleeza Rice or Mo’Nique? The former in each case have no doubt been taught and have continued to elect to conform to elite societal norms.
Maybe that’s my problem is my reluctance to conform to societal norms. But I digress.
As I said, this post creates far more questions than it answers and here’s short list of mine. Feel free to add, answer, debate.
- As a universal culture, are we becoming more relaxed and less pressured by societal constraints of certain etiquette?
- What are the drivers of relatively new found acceptance or the ability to feel less uncomfortable at things that a mere 10 years ago would make most squirm? Is it the effect of media in popular culture? Reality television?
- As a result of the impending Census outcome, how will we define cultural groups especially from a marketing perspective?
- There are no clear cut means of segmentation. There are always anomalies. Every segmentation is meant to ensure capturing the greatest number of people (customers) as possible. Will it be defined by country of origin? Generation? Race? Socio-economics?
- Will marketing segmentation exacerbate a class war, pitting the Wal-Marts against The Nordstrom’s?
- Will there be such a thing as “class acculturation” the way the there are degrees of acculturation among Asians and Hispanics?
- Will America be divided by level of educational attainment, as some suggest?
I’m not sure about the answers to all of the questions. I have a hypothesis or two but much remains to be seen about how nimble large corporations will be.
In any event, to pile on to the “stereotypes” as Mike Myers would say in his SNL “Coffee Talk” skits as Linda Richman…