Monday, October 21, 2013

In a pigeon-hole

Am I ‘rock ‘n roll’ or ‘flat cap’? Or even M&S slippers? An article in Marketing Magazine the other week talked about the ‘baby boomers” – those born between 1946 and 1964 (which includes me). We also have Generation X, and Generation Y.  The younger generations – again pigeon-holed and, no doubt, stereotyped for their behaviour and purchasing habits.

That made me think. Do I fit the stereotype for a baby boomer? Will I behave as anticipated according to the UK marketing analysts? The answer, though it galls a little, is probably ‘yes’.

I’m a bit rock ‘n roll and a bit slippers, so if marketers can work that out, then what is directed at me is going to hit with sufficient accuracy as to occasionally highlight something I may actually be interested in. And I might buy/subscribe/donate.

Am I happy in my pigeon-hole? I do not respond well to anything to do with soap operas or beauty products which may be appropriate for a ‘woman of my age’. I would like to remove myself from that demographic niche, but it isn’t that simple (yet).But other than that, yes, being in a pigeon-hole is great, as long as I’m a pigeon.

As a marketer, I send information to people who match the demographic and ‘look alike’ profile of people who have already demonstrated an interest in what I am marketing. I pick a pigeon-hole I’ve found pigeons in before. If I were looking for ducks, I’d look in the pond (as long as it wasn’t polluted of course).

Even the TV - a ‘mass marketing’ media - thinks about its pigeons. You won’t spot a nappy advert in the middle of a major football match, but you might get men’s aftershave during a soap opera (remember, the target audience isn’t always the consumer, it’s the purchaser too).  

I like marketing – not just because it’s my job. I like it because you can do it well, and you can target audiences and (most of the time) make sure you send them something that is likely to appeal. You can get feedback on what you are doing and improve things. You can, according to your sector and products, help people find something they want or need.

So here I am in my pigeon-hole, and I’m happy knowing that amongst the things that are brought to my attention, there’s some serious pigeon fodder. Marketing may not be a perfected art, but the better we do it, the less likely we are to send the flat cap and rock ’n roller an ad for Classic FM.


I fully expect, of course, a flat-capped wearing, rock ‘n roll loving pigeon fancier to respond saying they love Classic FM.  After all, we’re all individuals. And that makes marketing even more fun!

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Photocredits: Woodpigeon: RSPB, Duck Canoe Foundation
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