communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.

11/20/2007

Profiling

I always thought that part of a planner's job is to be really accurate at profiling. Diana also wanted to be a criminal profiler before she got into this.

So this article by Malcolm Gladwell was a blessing because it talks about processes exactly like ours when we try to figure out who our progressive consumers are. Also it pinpoints what the flaws are, namely that when you do behavioral profiling you simply cannot be sure your clues will lead to your conclusions in 100% of the cases. I cannot promise you that all your customers will think that red polka dots are cute. It's an assumption I make based on information and that is why I try to gather as much information as possible to make my assumption "statistically stick". Of course that's not certainty either.

But in our case it's just advertising, not murder :-) Thank God.

Malcolm is back to blogging and he has a new book coming out and I really hope it's about profiling.

2 comments:

v. said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article doesn't make profilers look like they really know what they're doing... "Brussel did not really understand the mind of the Mad Bomber. He seems to have understood only that, if you make a great number of predictions, the ones that were wrong will soon be forgotten, and the ones that turn out to be true will make you famous. The Hedunit is not a triumph of forensic analysis. It's a party trick." and "Astrologers and psychics have known these tricks for years. The magician Ian Rowland, in his classic "The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading," itemizes them one by one, in what could easily serve as a manual for the beginner profiler."

Bogdana said...

V, I don't need to correct you because I was not trying to say that he was upholding profiling. I thought it was great someone was describing a process that's very much like targeting and that just like targeting has some flaws. It's not all black and white, and just because statistically they did not help in a relevant trend, it's also interesting that in some cases they managed to focus the thinking a bit :-)