Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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Going Psycho Over Demos.

Being a branding guy is enough to drive you nuts. One reason why it can make you crazy is that people will ask for advice and pay decent dollars for it, I might add only to actually ignore what you tell them.


It's not that these are disagreeable people, mind you. These are simply people who refuse to accept how profoundly the web has changed marketing and branding strategies. Sure, everyone has their own theories about how to promote their business on the web, but by far, the most wacked out are the Number Nuts.


At the risk of generating a few hundred thousand poison pen letters, let me explain.
Frankel's Second Law of Corporate Motivation clearly states that "90% of the world is driven by fear while the remaining 10% puts fear into the first 90%." Number Nuts fall into the first 90%, who figure that if they bolster their delusional strategies with enough numbers, they won't lose their jobs because they can always blame bad data.


Ah, I can tell by the twinkle in your eye that you can identify at least six, right?


For that reason, most Number Nuts (typically escaped inmates from large ad or media agencies) cling to outmoded techniques like demographics for marketing on the web. Demographics, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is the practice of dumping people's characteristics into quantifiable categories and then basing your strategy on those numbers. It could be "white, male mental patients between the ages of 26 and 34." Or "Female psychiatrists in the Detroit area over the age of 40." You get the idea.
The problem with demographics is that it worked fine for TV shows like Bewitched. After all, there were, what, eight channels for 150 million people in those days. You either watched Bozo, reruns of Fireball 500 or in drastic cases turned off the tube. Back then, you could pretty well rely on the fact that more guys than girls would be watching Gunsmoke, and that viewers of the Lawrence Welk Show could qualify as certified antiques.


But the web has at least 40 bazillion channels, each uploading its own show every five nano-seconds viewable at any time of the day. Which means that even members of a well-defined demographic group pursue their own individual interests, whenever and wherever they choose.


What it means is that the real strategy for marketing on the web is psychographics.
Psychographics are way cooler than demo's, because psychos toss out all that fake number stuff that's really only meant to justify people's jobs. When you go psycho, you don't worry about how many girls in Wisconsin are between the ages of 18 and 24. You get much, much closer to your audience's brains, by murmuring to yourself, "Hmmm, if I want to reach people who enjoy eating chocolate in bed, where would I find them?"


Then you start cross-promoting and sponsoring on chocolate sites. Bed sites. Maybe even toffee and pillow sites. The point is that because the web is so niched, its users flock straight to their own interests, making them much easier to target and sell.
Don't forget, too, that being interactive, pychographically-matched people are far more likely to exchange referrals and interact with each other.


That's the reason why I almost always recommend choosing psychographics over demographics on the web. Oh, the Number Nuts will still try to dazzle you with all sorts of numbers. But believe me, only one number that really counts: your ad-to-sales ratio.


My advice: Go psycho. It's the one sure way to preserve your sanity.

Rob Frankel

 
 
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