Not a Race of Fractions
July 25, 2011
Marketers have tried for so long to make everyone fit into the same few “pigeon holes” by necessity that we’ve become complacent and assume there isn’t a better way. Because we have been limited by the technology available, we’ve focused our efforts on penning people into these nice demographic groups, but it’s a fair question to ask how this approach can really provide any insight into individual human behavior.
I admit that I’m a cynic about this kind of thing in general. I simply do not subscribe to the idea that mathematics and human behavior have much in common. We have a lot less to do with numbers or Boolean logic then we have to do with chemistry. For example, a favorite whipping post victim of mine is the old radio rating system. That consisted of sending out a “diary” to selected individuals who were then asked to record their radio choices for a week or two. Those people could statistically represent hundreds or even thousands of users. For decades this mathematical equivalent of reading sheep’s entrails dictated where millions and even billions of advertising dollars would go.
Now, I’m more of a philosopher than a numbers person, and that means I have a bias. However, I just happen to think it’s more enlightening and useful to know why an individual does something than how many individuals may do something similar.
In email marketing, we know that segmenting your list helps to increase relevancy and the more relevant your content is, the better. Every responsible ESP on the planet preaches segmentation to its clients as the best possible way to accomplish this. That’s true, it has been the best possible way available, but now things have changed.
Whether you have your list split into dozens of segments or hundreds, those segments can’t be as optimal as a segment of one. The pinnacle of relevancy and engagement can only be reached when we know our subscribers as individuals based on their actions over time and deliver the content how and when they want it.
At Sailthru, we focus on helping our clients get to know their subscribers as individuals, thus bringing more value to the relationship for both.
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