Differences that Matter

I think we’re all been in this situation – you are launching a new product, trying to sort out a new tactic, trying to understand a new market.  

You get some research and look at the numbers.  It seems that there is a definite opportunity among females.  They are normally 51% of the population but this idea/product/tactic seems to resonate with females way more – they are 60% of those who liked/love it!

Digging deeper you find that they are also slightly younger, maybe live in the Mid West, and have middle class incomes.  Before long you are writing a strategy document to target single white females in Chicago.  Giving them a name like ‘Mid West Care-Freers’ and basing a brand strategy around them.

But what happens to the 40% of males who like the product/idea/tactic?  Especially the slightly older married guy from Florida?  He’s a young at heart Mid Western girl just trying to break free?

In all seriousness, just how important is an idea/product/tactic that skews slightly anything?  It’s a difference, but is it a difference that matters?

I am prepared to argue ‘no’.  Small differences and ‘skews’ (as we like to call them in consumer research) are a carry over from a time when we purchased media with the intent of wasting most of it.  If we knew females liked our idea, it was more efficient to find tons of females and inundate them with messaging than find the 40% of males who wanted to be just like that Mid Western girl.

These days great ideas spread.  They spread faster and connect better than ever in the past.  We’ve moved (are moving) to a world where it’s easier to find like-minded people than people who are ‘like’ each other.

That’s a profound difference.  It’s the essence of group construction and the impetus behind social media.

And it’s a difference that matters.

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