Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Attribution Error in Marketing

One of my favorite clients was discussing a prospective radio campaign with me today. She said, "Well, as the parent of a teenager, I listen to public radio. So most parents of teens probably listen to public radio, too. That's where we need to advertise."

Whoa. Not!

First, I need to tell you that this is one SMART business woman. Far from lacking intelligence, she was simply thinking like a human thinks ... Judging the world the way humans do.

We tend to think that the rest of the world looks, feels and behaves like we do. It's an attribution error. And all of us are guilty of making the attribution error periodically. We attribute reasons or causes to things, without any real basis.

The truth of the matter is that this woman is drastically different from most of the audience that she's hoping to reach. She's smarter, wealthier, younger, more highly educated, etc. Therefore, there's no reason to believe that other parents of teens share her radio-listening habits.

We tend to think that the rest of the world is like us. That's human nature, to be sure. Just don't make any marketing or business decisions upon such basis.

Find out what your audience (or your target market segment) actually looks like. Do the research. Get the facts. Determine the demographics. Study the psychographics. Analyze potential media with respect to ability to reach such listeners, viewers or readers. Then ... And only then ... Are you in a solid position to make a good decision.

As it turns out... That audience she was looking to reach ...

listens to Country Music!




Anonymous Anonymous said...

As we say at Brand Autopsy...

You are not your audience.Thanks for posting this helpful reminder!

Brand Examiner Paul

12:03 AM


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