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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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Recommended Reading – 8th September 2010

Below is the second part of my series of links, which I strongly suggest you consider reading

sk

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Cluetrainplus10: Thesis no.2

This is my blog post on thesis 2 of the Cluetrain Manifesto, forming part of cluetrainplus10. This is a project set up by Keith McArthur to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the manifesto’s publishing. I am one of many bloggers who has picked a thesis to cover today.

I feel like a bit of a charlatan, as I haven’t read the full book. I feel like I have, since the book gets referenced and rehashed so often but I should really go to the source at some point the get the version without embellishments and misinterpretations. I have at least read the manifesto though, and there was a thesis available that I wanted to cover so…

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.

Without wishing to revert to school essay-writing style, it is important to deconstruct the parts of this thesis.

Firstly, markets. Straightforward enough – an exchange of a good or service between a giver and receiver. The economy is made up of a vast number of complex and interconnected markets.

Secondly, demographic sectors. Now the tighter definition of a demographic will look at the objective population characteristics of that segment. Age, gender, ethnicity and so on.

However, loosening this could incorporate location-based, attitudinal, behavioural or lifestyle factors. Segmentation is not a science, after all.

Prisoner Patrick McGoohanThirdly, and finally, there is human beings. We have consciousness, emotions, motivations and free thought. We are not numbers, we are free men.

So, on a tight reading, the thesis could be saying that we shouldn’t be grouped into segments or demographic sectors, but treated as individuals that can fluctuate in and out of pre-defined targets as and when we please.

Technically correct, but this works better for pull-markets than push. In a pull market, the seller has ceded a degree of control. I self-select myself to customise the experience within the constraints to give myself maximum utility. The web has been a great enabler of this.

But most markets are still push markets. Unless your population is a super-select group (e.g. multi-billionaires), it is technically infeasible to treat all potential traders as individuals. That is where demographic sectors come in useful. Population characteristics are pretty outdated and completely overlook the fantastic diversity of our society. Attitudinal or behavioural demographics are much more useful (and fluid).

This reading also overlooks an important element of the thesis. As human beings we are plural. We may be individuals, but we also act in groups. Some might say that we have an inherent herd mentality.

So it is feasible to target groups by attitude, but we should treat them with more grace and humility. With humanity. Not calling them targets, for one thing.

And this works both ways. We should be human ourselves. Organisations should display this emotion, free thought and consciousness that defines us as who we are.

This gets to the heart of the thesis, in my opinion. And it is ever more relevant as the economy gets destroyed by rampant, greedy capitalism. It may not bring the short-term efficiency of a quick trade on the stock exchange or a last second snipe on ebay, but it creates meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Which ultimately benefits both sides.

We are people. We may be grouped, but we are not homogeneous. We are not faceless, we have multiple faces. Our name is legion. And we should recognise this.

We have been slowly learning to treat the customer with respect by using various platitudes.

“The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife”David Ogilvy

Now it is time to respect ourselves.

sk

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Links – 3rd October 2008

This blog has been quiet on content for the last month or so. I’ll try and change that in the coming week.

Anyway, things I’ve read in the last week include

Blog-related

Jeff Jarvis argues that news sites should evolve into community-based collections, where articles are continually updated and evolving (as in Wikipedia). Doc Searls disagrees, arguing that the structure of the web isn’t conducive to a single source of information. Two very intelligent thinkers.

Kevin Kelly has written some great articles around the singularity (the moment where artificial intelligence becomes self-aware and has the ability to evolve almost instantaneously) but this is my favourite. He diebunks this singular moment of universal clarity as “thinkism” due to this only producing theory. For true progression, we need empirical evidence and time-series data (e.g. the Large Hadron Collider)

Poll of students technology ownership at Amherst College indicates that, among other things, 99% have Facebook accounts but only 1% have landlines (Collision Detection)

12 tips for psychological selling – another punchy and insightful post from Copyblogger

Of Montreal discuss the packaging for their new album. I like the idea that something physical accompanies a digital download – whether a tote bag, a paper lantern or some other decoration or item (Pitchfork)

There appears to be little consensus on how much web drama the BBC can produce with their £1.3m budget (Futurescape)

Russell Davies argues in favour of slow strategy

10 creative advertising ideas from students (Advertnews) – I like these – the PSP ad is my favourite

Brand Jury is a new website that allows you to rate and comments on ads. Personally, I can’t see this working. Ads may go viral, but I can’t see many people actively seeking out and rating varying qualities of commercial

Random

50 things that every comic collection truly needs – a fairly exhaustive list, though I’m surprised that 2000AD wasn’t included in the main list (Comics Reporter)

Terrible superhero merchandise – self explanatory. I was once a gullible 8 year old too (Dark Roasted Blend)

The Collins Dictionary has run a PR piece of words they may expunge from their dictionary. I’ll bite (Times Online)

The Jeff Jarvis / Doc Seals exchange and the Kevin Kelly piece are required reading

sk