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
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
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
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.