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.
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.