Some time ago the Wall Street Journal featured an article called “The Andrew Luck Book Club.”
It seems that Andrew Luck (the Stanford grad who justed retired from his job as QB for the Indiana Colts) likes to read and share books with his teammates. He’s discussed Greek classics (think Homer’s Iliad) with the team’s center, Khaled Holmes. He recommends books to teammates going through tough times.
“There’s more book talk than people assume, especially in the off-season when we’ve got a little more free time…This is an intelligent group of guys,” says Holmes.
Apparently “locker room talk” can resemble a conversation one might hear in a graduate seminar at a university. According to the WSJ, Khaled Holmes says that while he and Luck discussed the Odyssey, he’s more of a “Sophocles and Euripides guy.”
Another book, Eat My Schwartz by Geoff and Mitch Schwartz, tells us that football players also get together and cook. Yes, the Schwartz brothers have had successful careers as offensive linemen … and a lifelong interest in fine food.
Assumptions can be dangerous in life — and can be killers when you develop content strategy for your target market.
For instance, many ads for video games target young 20-and-under males; in fact, another article points out that 44% of gamers are over 45 and 52% are women.
Many, many years ago a car rental company actually ran a campaign based on the inability of women to do math. The premise was that their computer was so simple, their female reps (all shown as young and cute in their red uniforms) just pushed a few buttons to create your receipt.
Sounds bizarre, but many marketers target women with “simplified” programs for financial planning. Never mind that the former Federal Reserve chairman, Janet Yellen, isn’t exactly uncomfortable with numbers. She was an economist at UC Berkeley when I was a grad student there.
Effective content strategy requires sensitivity to stereotypes.
It’s so easy to apply stereotypes automatically.
For instance, not all people over 60 are eager to retire, go on cruises, drink tea or groove with the grandchildren. Some are active on social media, build websites and edit videos. Some are running marathons. Yet it’s not uncommon to see courses for “seniors” who need a dumbed-down version of computer usage.
A YouTube viewer commented on a cowboy song, “I think I was born a cowboy. Broke my first horse at nine, was still roping at sixty, and rode out a bucking two-year-old filly at seventy. And I ain’t’ done yet!” Yet many financial planning ads simply assume everyone over sixty has become frail and focused on retirement.”
Not all single people are lonely and depressed. An NPR article notes that some singles seek out solitude for Thanksgiving. A course on “Surviving As A Single: Twenty-first Century Dating” could be renamed, “Finding Your Perfect Mate In The 21st Century.”
Stereotyping Costs You Credibility
At best, targeting a stereotype makes any service professional come across as clueless and outdated.
At worst, stereotyping creates a backlash. People who feel they’re being shoved into the wrong box get pretty angry and develop elephantine memories. Not to mention that getting labeled as “prejudiced” doesn’t do much for a company’s reputation.
The 3 ways to avoid stereotype misfire in your content strategy are:
(1) Get beyond superficial descriptions of your target market. One marketing seminar leader advised attendees, “Target retired people. They have IRAs.” Truth? Not all retirees have IRAs … and many of those who do aren’t looking for ways to spend them.
(2) Target your marketing based on your audience’s urgent problems, dreams, and desires, not their demographics. Not all single women 18-34 are seeking their soulmates.
(3) When you find yourself categorizing, ask yourself, “Can we consider these groups to be different cultures?” For instance, instead of identifying motorcycles, video games, football or beer with males, think of the “weekend football culture,” which includes men and women of all ages.
BTW, a lot of business owners don’t realize they have a gold mine sitting on their hard drive. Maybe your company sends you boring, generic content to share with your prospects and clients. Maybe you’ve bought a ton of PLR and don’t have time to turn it into profitable marketing content.
I can help. Send me a message at http://cathygoodwin.com/contact
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