Archive for May, 2008

DEMOGRAPHICS IS DEAD!!! ….er, well, not really.

May 28, 2008

So I’ve been hearing this thing in marketing geek circles over the last few months: “Demographics is dead”.  

The gist is more or less that building market segments based on demographics is old school, and that today’s bleeding edge marketers recognize that the new way is to target consumer PREFERENCE, which extends across traditional demographic market segments. No one’s going to box them in, demos be damned!

I recently heard rarified, single-estate, shade grown coffee used as an example. The premise was that you shouldn’t try and sell these precious beans to, say, urban upscale professionals with >$60K income, living on the coasts and in select major cities who drive Volvos and download Beck and jazz to their iPods. The thinking is that such a staid, traditional approach will miss the bike messengers, poor doctoral students, and other java junkies who may not fit neatly into a demographic category, but who are willing, based on preference, to spend an outsized portion of their disposable income on primo coffee.

Cool approach. Logical. Exciting!

Except, it can take you down a really bad road, namely: market segmentation strategies MUST BE ACTIONABLE. That is, you’ve gotta be able to find the people to put into your clever segmentation buckets. That’s one of the first marketing principles that was drilled into my skull back in the day. And I argue that it’s just as true today.

So it’s all fine and good to boldly say that you’re going to market your super delux coffee to the crème de la crème of coffee connoisseurs, be they Seattle D.I.N.K.S. or Boston skateboard punks. But thing is, now you’ve gotta find actual real people to get the message to. And guess how you’re going to do it?

Yep, you guessed it; you’re going to rely on demographic data. If you’re running ads, you’re going to rely on the demos the pubs provide. If you’re doing direct marketing, you’ll have to find proxies for skateboard punks and Seattle hipsters, and those proxies will be demographic data — age, where they live, income, sex, buying behavior, home ownership, that kind of thing. If you’re blogging, you’ll be blogging on sites that these folks visit. And you’ll find those sites based on demographics. If your doing PR, you rely on demographic data to find the media outlets that will reach your target segments.

So, demographics based segmenation is far from dead. We can come up with all manner of fancy preference based segmentation schemes, and they can look sweet in a PowerPoint preso, but at the end of the day, segmentation is only as good as your ability to identify actual folks that you can stick into your segments.


Happy hunting,

Ken Liatsos, fancy coffee drinker 
(35-45 year old, male, home owner, Subaru driver, Green Mountain Club member, single, no children, 05672 zip code)


What is with all of this social networking?

May 28, 2008

I was a guest panelist last week at the Vermont Business EXPO on social networking and how to make it work for your business.  I was privileged to present alongside some of Vermont’s experts on technology including:

·      Elaine Young, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Program Director of e-Business Management and        Marketing, Champlain College

·      Ted Adler, Founder and President, Union Street Media

·      Dave Winslow, President and CEO, EpikOne

·      Dan Cypress, Realtor, end user for business and personal use. 

I am a huge advocate of networking – both virtually and in person.  Sure, social networking cannot achieve what traditional networking would –when you look at it, emails cannot beat out old-fashioned phone calls when working with clients, vendors or tying to close that important sale.

But, when you are working with Gen Y, or marketing to them it is unavoidable.  In fact, many companies do not ask for references anymore, they just check your recommendations on LinkedIn.  And as marketers are setting up company pages on Facebook and other social networks that allow businesses to have a presence, it is becoming increasingly important for key management to setup a personal profiles as well.

Is it necessary for you or your business to embrace this social networking fad? Well, I once thought email was a fad  – and now, fortunately or unfortunately, am one of the most hyper-connected people I know (it is the nature of my business).  Needless to say, PMG has its own Facebook page and I have embraced many social networking sites for both reconnecting with old friends and building the PMG brand.

My biggest tip? Protect your contacts.  It is ok not to “friend” or connect with someone.  Your contacts are yours – and should be treated as you would your old fashioned rolodex… treat those relationships with care.  

Here is a great video that Elaine featured at the panel, which gives a good overview of what social networking is.

Is it right for you?  Well, you can’t know if you don’t try – and since it is free (except your time), give it a whirl.  Let me know what works and what does not.

Bonne chance!

Nicole Ravlin



May 8, 2008

The first blog entry.  What to write?  What to say?  Will anyone even read this?  Well, we hope so!  We have a lot to say!

If you know of PMG Creative then you know that we work with socially and environmentally responsible businesses as well as (and including) specialty food related companies.  We believe in partnering with companies that we see eye to eye with regarding their business practices – and clients who have services and products we feel passionate about and can have fun with.

This blog will focus on musings from our industry, stories from our travels, and reports of the goof-ball happenings in our office.  You will hear from all members of our team, and on occasion a guest blogger or two.

We hope you enjoy what we put out there, and always welcome your comments and feedback.