Here's another intriguing Blogapalooza guest post, this one from Chris Gregory. Chris is the vice president of marketing for a high-growth transportation engineering products company. In past roles, he worked in marketing capacities in the aviation, publishing, and commercial finance industries. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the University of Kansas and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in marketing communications from the same school. Here's Chris Gregory with his take on the latest Seth Godin book, "We Are All Weird":
You and I are growing apart. We just don’t have as much in common as we once did. Or, at least that is what Seth Godin and I think.
Seth Godin recently released a new book titled We Are All Weird. Of course, he is right. But it didn’t take his new book to get me thinking about this idea that everyone is unusual.
I gathered with several fellow graduate students. The topic was AMC Theater seating options. The chain of movie houses tested several concepts in our area including reserved seating and a full-blown quick-service restaurant menu served by waiters before and during the movie.
What was remarkable was that the group of us – by nearly all demographic measures very similar – voiced very different opinions. As a marketer, this caught my attention. All of us live in the same area, work in the same field and share a common education level. We share similar income levels and family structures.
But yet we feel completely different about the seating options. I argued in favor of reserved seating, which is ordered online in advance. That way my wife and I enjoy dinner before the show without rushing to get a good seat. Some people agreed. Other people argued their assigned seats are in bad locations, because they wait until they arrive at the theater to buy tickets.
The second option, food service in the theater, drew a similar divide among the group. For me, dinner and a movie is a night out, not dinner at a movie. Other people liked the convenience.
What struck me was there is no way AMC marketers could tell us apart. Which of us should they market to? If we were in a focus group, which of us would they listen to? Even though we look so similar, we are very different.
This is where Godin’s new book comes in. He took this abstract concept that flitted through my head and turned it into yet another of his insightful works. The world is changing – take heed marketers – because each of us is now comfortable living and buying as part of a sub-niche of society. One size doesn’t fit all; it just fits one.
Why did the world change? Sure, the Internet. But also transportation and population growth. The Internet enables us to know about more available products, services, peer groups, potential lifestyles, etc. Improvements in transportation help us get those things we want. People and goods can easily go places they could not reach a hundred years ago. It is now easy to try a new restaurant or spend two weeks at a role playing game camp. The Internet helps you find obscure items, and improvements in shipping gets the snail cookbook to your house. As the population grows, the small markets for such goods and services are large enough to support their respective economies.
The weirdification of the world is a good thing. We can explore and embrace those interests that make us really unique. As marketers, we realize that obscure doesn’t mean worthless. The long tail of a market contains plenty of opportunity. - Chris Gregory