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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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Understanding your STP strategy

This isn’t supposed to be a post aping Copyblogger or Hipster Runoff, but it is something that occurred to me while reading up for an assignment. It is something we all have – consciously or unconsciously – in a professional sense.

What is your STP strategy?

In other words, who are you trying to impress and how are you doing it?

This could be in the job market – segmenting the available opportunities (e.g. by industry or function), targeting a preference and positioning skills and personal attributes for maximum (perceived) compatibility.

Or it could be with blogging.

This is a blog that covers professional interests more than personal, so it should follow that there is an STP strategy underlying it.

And to an extent there is. I’d just never thought about it before.

Segmentation is broadly based around one of the following characteristics:

  • Demographic
  • Geographic
  • Psychographic
  • Behavioural

Geographic can be immediately ruled out (pseudo psychological arguments about cognitive landscapes notwithstanding). And despite the occasional self-indulgent navel gazing posting such as this one, I tend not to focus upon particular behaviours – either in the traditional industrial segmentation purchasing sense or in general actions.

There are several blogs I enjoy reading that are based around a particular demographic (normally a particular industry) but I don’t think this is one of them. I may work in research but, frankly, I find a lot of the processes involved in it pretty tedious and I don’t have the inclination to write about them. And I don’t know enough about any other industry¬† write on it. In an informed way, anyway.

Similarly, the people who commission me/my company to do a project rarely care about the underlying mechanics either. Instead, they care about the outputs – data, conclusions and provocations – and their context.

As do I.

And I think it is in this psychographic element that this blog attempts to hone in on. Ideas – both my own and those of others.

The blogs I read are those that contain thoughts that interest me – they can have a direct bearing on me or be largely irrelevant. This reflects on what I write about. It was the various blogs I read that initially inspired me to have more than a half-hearted effort at blogging, and their influence on me continues.

Just because I target ideas doesn’t mean I achieve them. But I know at least one person learns something from my typing. Me.

Writing helps me connect vaguely disparate thoughts into something approaching coherent. Sometimes, these thoughts are quickly discarded and forgotten about. But occasionally, they spur me on to go and do something tangible.

The positioning of this blog is like most of the other blogs I read – it is my natural voice. It might be verbose and inconsistent, but it is authentic. I’m more of a sponge than an alchemist and so I probably fall between several stools rather than occupying a distinct proposition like some of these:

In fact, those four positions could almost form a matrix, where I’d be somewhere near the centre. It may not be as exciting as being on the edges, but it means I can soak things up from all directions.

This blog doesn’t have a particular point other than questioning whether, in professional circles, you’ve considered how you are positioning yourself.

In a slightly selfish way, the main audience for this blog is me. Or at least people like me. This rather opaque strategy means that topics and readers may fluctuate, and I may never be categorised as a specific “type” of blog.

But that is fine with me. Whether researchers, musicians, chemistry students or social media specialists, I’m read things from a disparate group of folk and I hope my blog offers a suitable reflection of this. Whether this is the first time you have read a post or mine or whether you’ve visited several times, thanks for popping by and thanks for inspiring me.

sk

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaumedurgell/740880616/

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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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