November 04, 2015

Skewing The Data

When I speak to groups, one of the subjects I often talk about is marketers' willful disregard of the most powerful economic group in the history of the planet -- people over 50.

These people are responsible for 50% of consumer spending in the US and are the target for 10% of marketing activity.

One of the examples of marketers' stupidity I give is the comments of an automotive marketing executive.

A Wall Street Journal article a while back did an article about "youth cars." These are cars targeted at 18-35 year-olds, or as we love to call them, millennials.

The Journal noted that 88% of the people who buy these cars are over 35, yet the auto industry continues to target advertising at under 35's.

When asked about this, the above-mentioned marketing genius had this to say.

"The baby boomer generation is the largest cohort in the marketplace…. Just by virtue of their numbers being so large, we'll continue to see them skew the data...”

Think about this for a minute.

Older people aren't really customers. They don't really buy things. They don't spend real money.

All they do is "skew the data."

When you start with a prejudice -- for example that you don't want to talk to older people -- then their unpleasant appearance in your results is called "skewing the data."

When you start with an open mind, then they are the data.

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