Published on: December 5, 2013
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.by Kevin Coupe
Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
I've been thinking about yesterday's release of the Daymon study into male shopping habits, and as much I think this kind of information is valuable, I also think it is important to remember that these days, perhaps more than ever, people don't necessarily fit into neat descriptions. Sure, it'd be easier for marketers if this were true, but it isn't. The "why" is almost always more important than the "who" or the "when" or the "where."
I've run into this recently on a number of occasions.
For example, we've been considering a refinancing on our house, and Mrs. Content Guy has been doing most of the work on this. She narrowed it down to one possibility, but it all came down to points … since we're not going to be in this house very much longer, we want to be careful not to make a deal that is going to cost us money in the short-term, because there isn't going to be a long-term. She had various conversations with the mortgage guy, and then we decided not to do it. She sent him an email to that effect, and that was that.
Earlier this week, I got a call from the guy, who started out the conversation by saying, "I got the email from your wife, but I realized that I'd never talked to you." I said that there was no reason to talk to me, that my wife was taking the lead on this and I was taking all my advice from her, and he said, "But, she's a teacher…"
Well, first of all, just because she teaches third-graders doesn't mean she only has the knowledge of a third-grader. I pointed out to him that while she is a teacher now, she started off her career as a stock broker with Smith Barney, worked for a time as an investigator for the New York Stock Exchange, and subsequently was a founding employee of Citibank's high-net worth account business, which used to be called "Focus" and morphed over time into Citigold. So she knows a helluva lot more about this stuff than I do. (In fact, she knows a helluva lot more about most stuff than I do.)
He backtracked a bit, saying he only referred to her being a teacher because she is hard to reach during the day. But that clearly was not what he meant, and he got caught applying old world stereotypes to a new world situation. Bad move.
I was also in my bank branch the other day having a conversation with the new manager, and he expressed a little bit of surprise that someone my age actually does 99 percent of his banking online … I rarely write a check anymore, and pretty much do everything from my laptop. He's a young guy, a so-called "digital native," and while I may be a "digital immigrant," that doesn't mean I'm not working hard to understand the lingo. He was complimenting me, and I have to admit that I found a bit of pleasure confounding his stereotypical view of me. And I think a lot of us are like that.
A couple of days ago, Mrs. Content Guy and I did something we'd never done before - we took a cooking class at Sur la Table. She'd indicated an interest in learning how to make soup from scratch, I found a class in soups and stews, I made the reservations, and off we went.
Now, you have to understand … Mrs. Content Guy hates cooking. She doesn't even like to stir the risotto for any length of time f I get called away from the kitchen. But this was her idea, and she went into it gamely … even if it pretty much confirmed for her that it is probably a good thing that I like to cook.
What was interesting was that the teacher of the class commented that most of the time, when couples take a class, she finds that one or the other is the main cook in the house, and that it is less common for people to be partners in the kitchen, sharing the duties equally. I thought that was fascinating, and maybe a little unexpected.
Then again, I'm convinced in a lot of ways that one of the challenges of doing market research these days is that people are so easily able to confound expectations, challenge preconceptions, and avoid fitting into neat descriptions. We have access to so much more information and opportunity, and the ability - and freedom - to make choices is treasured.
As I said before … The "why" is almost always more important than the "who" or the "when" or the "where."
That's what's on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: