Saturday, August 20, 2011

One person's condo is another person's farm.

     Reading the newspaper this morning (yes, I'm over 30), I was struck by two opposing dreams.

     On page 7D were a story and pictures of rustic Brown Island, Maine, where you can buy a house with a dock for about the price of a condo in San Francisco.

     On page 8D, right across, was an ad for Sotheby's, with 35 little pictures and captions of those condos in San Francisco, and other houses way beyond one's reach.

     At various times in our lives, our dreams shift. I used to be on the Sotheby's page. Now, if it weren't for the weather, it's that place in Maine, where I could lie on my back in the high grass and read E. B. White's essays.

     As marketing and advertising people, we have to keep these kinds of shifts in mind. People have them all the time. No market is ever static, none of us is consistent. Dreams change with real life, and nightmares interrupt dreams.

      Now that there are more computers than bathtubs in the United States, changes seem to happen every time we open our laptops. Our moods shift, our attitudes bend with new information, our belief systems are challenged.  One day we love, Gilt that afternoon, and by evening we're back to Amazon. Or is it Stussy? Some days we'll go anywhere for free shipping.

      As if that weren't enough, the average American is now bombarded by over 3,000 commercial messages per day. "Everything is media" is what we in advertising say. The human brain can't deal with all these messages.  Fortunately, only about 16 of the 3,000 per day sink in, or we'd go crazy.

      What's a marketer to do? Focus on the source, the customer, and keep your eyes and ears on her. Question her, watch what she does, try to understand her and find out what matters to her. I'm pretty sure you'll find that although fashions change, goals change, and aspirations change, human nature --- basic needs and values --- doesn't change very much.

        And human nature is what takes us from 8D to 7D.

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