This post is part of a 95 post series discussing the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto as they relate to business in 2009. Read more about the series in the introduction post. And check out the rest of the series!
Thesis #2: Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
On Christmas Eve of 2008, I had a phenomenal dinner with some friends visiting from NYC, UX Designer Whitney Hess and Flex/Flash developer Orian Marx. During that dinner I took took the opportunity to pick Whitney’s brain on what some of the pieces of her client projects look like. One of the core techniques she utilizes heavily is taking user and stakeholder interviews and molding them into user types, often called personas. What’s great about the way she goes about it is she gives those personas names, faces (literally, pictures!), and back stories. This gives the entire team a point of reference for decision making, and instead of it being against abstract cases and market verticals, they get to refer to people. Additionally, when Whitney makes recommendations, it turns her into the communicator (which is really a larger part of her job than being a “designer”, per se) speaking on behalf of the “users”, rather than just expounding her opinion.
Why is this important (and in my opinion, extremely effective)? Because market verticals don’t use your product or service. Human beings do. And those human beings don’t have singular interests or backgrounds, they have complex sets of interests, back stories, turn-ons and turnoffs, etc.
When putting together a marketing plan, don’t base it on abstract target groups and demographic sectors. Demographic sectors lead to speculation. Base it on real people. Real people lead to real answers, which lead to real results.
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