Who am I? I’m a professional woman living in New York City between the ages of 18-35. These are the differentiators that traditional marketers have gathered, and the ones that have identified me on every list I’ve joined in the last decade. Now the received wisdom dictates that I should be sent discounts on lipstick and anti-aging cream rather than those on equipment for grilling animals and hitting balls with crooked sticks (or whatever you brawny men like to do with your free time). These perceptions are fostered by the basic information marketers have gathered on me.
But they are wrong. People are far more varied than flat demographics and geography can show. We are complex individuals with eclectic interests that break the boundaries of standard or average. With the explosion of the internet has come the birth of hundreds of thousands of niche interest groups. We’ve excelled past generic labels and are demanding to be identified more specifically by the media we consume and the stores we shop in. Imagine being able to really know who your customers are; what content they care about (the gulf oil spill and the Red Sox), what items they’re browsing (leather belts and smartphone apps), buying (hip-hop music and vegan cookbooks) or abandoning (football tickets and summer shoes), and then being able to use that information to speak directly to them. Knowing WHO is in your database has become the new standard of excellence. The ability to market to the individual means that you, as marketers, are on the pulse of the very audience that can make or break you.