403.870.8676 dgaudet@triceratops.ca

The UnPlugged Run

I'm currently vacationing in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  Specifically, Victoria, the province's majestic capital.  Even more specifically, we've been pampering ourselves in the iconic Fairmont Empress.  It has been remarkable to revisit the city where I lived and worked 30 years ago - now with my two young girls.  I have enjoyed Victoria as a tourist for the first time and we have done it all.  The carriage ride, Harbour Taxi, Double Decker Bus, China Town, Old Town, Willow's Beach, Dallas Road, Fisherman's Wharf...we've done a ton.

As an avid runner, I've somewhat selfishly snuck in about 25 miles this week between the Empress, Cook Street Village, Beacon Hill Park, Dallas Road and the Inner Harbour.  Every morning, having meticulously laid out my running gear the night before so as not to disturb my sleeping family, I carefully, quietly get dressed in the dark and gently open and close the heavy guest room door, making as little sound as possible.  One such morning, having escaped the snoring abyss of my wife and children, I found myself in the hallway all ready to go.  Door entry card - check; Beats wireless buds - check; iPhone - oops.  I had mistakenly taken my daughter's iPod while fumbling around in the dark.  Unwilling to take the risk in waking my aforementioned tribe, I made the decision, for the first time in years, to run without the "aid" of background sound provided by Spotify, SiriusXM or any number of radio stations I might choose.  More significantly, I chose to run without NikePlus to mark my every mile.

I'm sure you can predict the result.  It was liberatingly intoxicating.  Untethered, I heard the sounds of a beautiful city awakening, seagulls from miles around, the stark and chilling call of peacocks in Beacon Hill, distant warning horns of ships navigating in and out of that narrow harbor, and float planes arriving and departing like bees in and out of a hive.  I think I saw more clearly, felt body parts move like never before, and heard myself breathe deeply - heartily.

I was in a state of mindfulness I could not have achieved had I been plugged in to my device.  Had I been consumed with distraction of artificial sound and a narcissistic need to measure my performance, I would not have enjoyed the morning I did when I very unintentionally ran unplugged.

I'm going to make an effort to do this at least once a week.  I recommend it.  Take back your spare time - fully.  Unplug.

Cobwebs in my Content

After years (an eternity in content marketing) of neglect I return to my wordpress site to presumably post something wise and/or witty, to be viewed by thousands (not).  Since my last post I have invested in Adobe Creative Cloud, for which I pay handsomely every month, with the intention of creating a website at this very address that looks and behaves more like 2016, and less like 1996.  Months pass, dollars drain, and I'm no closer to 2016.  Creating and managing content takes time, effort and something that I continue to council my clients on - discipline.  If I cannot do this, it is somewhat hypocritical of me to expect it from them.  So thus I pledge to make even a little more progress on this morbidly obsolete looking site by at least contributing content more regularly.  As for the facelift and functionality enhancement?  Well, one step at a time.

Segmented by Tall, Grande, Venti

In many ways marketing is as simple as observing and leveraging human behavior.  And one of the best places to observe human behavior in all of its psycho-analytical glory is Starbucks.  Next time you’re in the line up, pay close attention to the orders being meticulously described to the barista.  Do you think there would be a line up if Starbucks offered one drink for everyone?  The lure of Starbucks, besides its obvious brand appeal, is its segmentation strategy.  It knows one size does not fit all, in fact for Starbucks, it's the opposite – your drink-your way.

 

While its mass-customization is great marketing, even Starbucks targets a certain type of customer – despite menu choices ranging from a simple cuppa joe to the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino.  The practice of identifying your target market is called segmentation.

 

Starbucks, like most consumer companies, uses four segmentation variables to develop a sort of composite sketch of a typical customer.

  • Geographic segmentation helps marketers determine not where customers live, but also the types of climate, terrain and population densities they live in. Starbucks is more likely to open a store in a suburb, than in a rural township.
  • Demographic segmentation helps define a segment according to statistically geared human characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, and income level. These are often the first things marketers try to ascertain about their customers because certain generalities can be made about human behavior, based upon demographics.  Starbucks knows, for instance, that its product is going to appeal more to a 30 year old IT professional, than to a 60 year old truck driver.
  • Psychographics is perhaps the most fascinating segmentation variable because it is a precursor to that human behavior.  Customer personality, values and lifestyle come into scrutiny here.  While Starbucks targets customers who have discretionary spending money to pay $5 for a cup of coffee (a demographic trait) it also knows that  the “status” of being seen with that famous white and green cup trumps the fact that 5 bucks is a fiscally irresponsible purchase for many.
  • All of which brings us to possibly the most important, albeit misunderstood segmentation variable – our behaviour.  What makes this concept confusing is that psychology drives the behavior.  But unlike psychographics (how we think), behavior is the actual tipping point to the purchase (how we act).   We all enjoy a little status symbolism, and we might even believe that the quality of coffee is worth the extra few dollars.  But actually going to Starbucks, reaching into our pockets and following through with the purchase comes from a higher order of need.  Academics call it “benefits sought” in a purchase.  So what is the benefit sought by all Starbucks customers, irrespective of their diverse demographics and psychographics?  Beyond the flavor, the vanity, the caffeine addiction…it is the experience: That immediate cognition brought upon by the ambience, the music, the aroma and yes the opportunity to get YOUR drink – just the way YOU like it.  AS Starbucks founder CEO Howard Schultz put it, “Starbucks has a role and a meaningful relationship with people that is not only about the coffee.”

 

Theory leads us to believe that all four segmentation variables must be minutely defined in order for successful marketing to occur.  The reality is, there may be no demographic or geographic commonality whatsoever within a group of individuals targeted by a firm.  But if they share the same need…seeking the same benefit, that will drive the marketing process just fine.

 

Demographically she, or he, would be young, or youthful; would have a little more discretionary income, or perhaps more accurately, the Starbuck’s customer would possess a psychographic trait which placed a high value on “looking” like she or he had more discretionary income.  Geographically, Starbucks would cater to urbanites, or again, more specifically “sub-urbanites”…those who lived outside of the inner city, but embraced a busy, high density social experience.  But what did every Starbucks customer really want?  What did that customer need?  (which is marketing is virtually the same thing)  This was the most important question in developing the Starbucks segment.  And it helps us understand the most misunderstood segmentation variable – behavioural.