Psychographics and Data Driven Marketing

You have heard about it in the news:  Psychographics.  This is something I know a little about, as I studied psychographics in college.  Many of my classmates just didn’t get it, and now all Americans are coping with the fact that their data from social media has been used in a deliberate attempt to sway their votes in the last presidential election.

Normally, psychographics is used to shape advertising for companies, like radio stations who want to appeal to hard rockin’ men, or maybe their girlfriends.  Movie producers will use psychographics to test ending to movies.  Politicians will use psychographics to understand what their constituents want, and word their political ads and speeches to show they are the ones to fulfill their needs.

Even a clever blogger could study other blogs and figure out what they really believe and pander to that.  A clever blogger could craft blogs to appeal to their current followers even better.  A really clever blogger could understand what motivates other readers so well that they could have a hit with every blog.  (I wish I was so clever.)

So how are your Facebook posts of family, fun, comedy, and how your day went useful to advertisers?  All of this information gives your basic demographic information:  sex, age, married or single,  and number of children, how old your children are, type and number of pets, and show an advertiser what you might need to make your life easier, happier, prettier, and more fun.

In addition, every like, can provide information about your likes and dislikes.  You don’t just like flowers and pets.  You like a political ad and share certain topics over and over again.  If you support the police, as opposed to black lives matter, you have registered a “vote” showing your political leanings.

There is nothing wrong with supporting the police.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging black lives matter.  In fact, the two things are not mutually exclusive.  It is only advertising presented as opinion that makes the two things seem mutually exclusive.

Even more powerful, is to make advertising look like news.  This is the real fake news.  One of our son’s saw an ad presented as a newscast of the showing Seattle’s Space Needle being moved by tractor trailer to a new location.  (I was unable to find a video of this.)  My son could not be persuaded until he saw the Space Needle in its place in Seattle.

But know there is some clever advertiser, maybe someone who has no business involving themselves in our election, taking your click, and putting them together with other clicks, and use them to craft messages to get an emotional reaction from you.  Messages that look like someone’s opinion, or a news article.

You don’t even have to agree with the messages.  You see the messages over and over again.  As the messages get crazier, maybe you begin to wonder.  With all the smoke, you start looking for the fire.

These messages are tweaked to mix truth with speculation.  There are kind, well meaning people willing to believe the most outlandish speculation.  There are people who can get carried along with the crowd as emotions rise.

A tool that started as a way to bring us goods, wonderful entertainment, and services to make our lives better, has been used to manipulate us.

Equating common sense gun legislation with Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate Jews, is an exaggeration of paranoid fear.   I have several friends who have shared that on Facebook.  They are all excited that something drastic will be done.  Our right to bear arms is the principle they agree with.  Just because it originates with the NRA does not mean it is real.  Do the majority of gun owners agree?  No.  Every survey says most gun owners want common sense gun control.  We get to decide what is common sense.

The solution is to be skeptical.  If something seems extreme, that you have not seen someplace else, anyplace else, except another social media site, you may have something designed to manipulate you.

You are bombarded by adds for everything.  Click on Wayfair once and it will be forever be in Facebook feed.  Don’t be a sucker for every add that comes along, and that is what these posts are, designed to look like a person’s opinion.


Vacation, With a Hook

“Going on a cruise is on my bucket list,” Hubby said, so I was primed when I answered the call for white sand beaches, off shore breezes and salty surf tickling my toes.  Nine glorious days including a cruise to and from Freeport in the Bahamas, four nights on the island, and what the heck, let’s toss in a couple of nights in Orlando.  That hook was set, I didn’t even flinch when they said at the very end they would like to show us around one of their vacation properties.  This was marketing at its finest.

We got our itinerary and there it was, right in the middle of our first full day in Ft. Lauderdale.  I had a fantasy of going on our short tour and spending the rest of the day on a tour of the Everglades.  We’d already stopped at the Alligator Farm, on our way to begin our all-inclusive vacation package.  One short tour, promised to be about 2 hours, and we would be on our way to full-time fun.

We got to our tour site at noon, as requested, and waited our turn.  We were assigned to a nice young man.  Then the multi level press began.  Why do we go on vacation, don’t we want to have a lifetime of memories with our children and grandchildren, where would our dreams take us if we could go anywhere in the world and stay in five-star accommodations in complete luxury, and don’t we owe it to our families and our well-being to make these vacations a priority in our lives?

The family suite was wonderful, with enough room and privacy for all.  The pool and grounds were luxuriant. The location was in the heart of one of the most popular travel destinations on the globe, second only to  Orlando, the home of Disneyworld.  And we could swap our little piece of vacation heaven with others making the entire world our vacation heaven.

When we rejected their offer, a better deal was brought out, and yet an even better offer, and again an even better offer.  We went from $32,000 for the purchase of our one week share of paradise, to under $9000, and up to 4 weeks of vacation time, (but not at our prime location), and of course there was a very reasonable and continuing maintenance fee required from us or our descendants as long as we “owned” our vacation.   We would have a fee simple title to our vacation, just like every other owner of vacations at that location, entitling us to one week at that location, if we ever decided to use it.  (Or 1/52 for our suite and use of community pool, workout room, and laundry and parking.)

Some people thought this was a good idea, and some didn’t.  I did not!  We never take those types of vacations.  I knew this tour would be a time share offer and I asked around.  My friends like their time shares.  But I  want to boondoggle it in the wilderness with my camper.  How many ways did we have to say “No” to this unbelievable offer?  I wish I had kept count for my blog readers, like a true reporter, but I was on vacation!   It was 6 p.m.  before we were free to do anything else.  The Everglades would have to wait for another trip, and I was extremely disappointed, but now we could pick up our boarding passes for the cruise.   Or…we could get an additional $50 and pre-board if we would listen to one more offer.  Getting on the boat early seemed like a good idea, so what the heck.

I let them know I was not at all happy with yesterday’s experience, they promised 90 minutes tops.  This offer was a vacation club, and hubby was ready to write a check, but I was not convinced.  I wanted to go on the internet and research these vacation clubs.  Sitting there with my phone I had already found one complaint.  Not conclusive, I would agree, but certainly reason to do more research, and not rush to a decision.  Hubby put the checkbook away.

Once on the island people kept trying to sign us up for yet another presentation, we refused, repeatedly, even with the offer of a free motor scooter rental to drive around the island.  Instead we walked away without the one scooter we were going to rent and ride on together around the island.

Once we were back in Orlando, we were denied  our room assignment until we signed up for yet another presentation, and this deal was sweetened with a half price ticket to the Universal theme park.  I was snappish to put it delicately.   We declined and asked to speak to the manager and got our room assignment.

The rest of our trip was full of white sand beaches, lazy hours at the pool, eating too much, drinking too much, and enjoying the sun and surf.



It’s That Time of Year

The time of year for my first Christmas movie, which in my case is my last Halloween movie: The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love this movie. The pumpkin king discovers the joy of Christmas and wants to make the Christmas holiday his own, but even doing his best, he can’t get Christmas right.

Malls and stores are full of Christmas displays, and seasonal lights line city streets, and even some friends of mine have already begun putting out their ornaments. Holiday decorating is a time-consuming processes, and we are eager to get our holiday decorations up so we can enjoy them for as long as possible. Retailers need are ready for Black Friday, the day retailers finally begin to turn a profit for the year, due almost entirely to our holiday season spending. Retailers are strongly motivated to make sure we have available all the choices we could want for our end of year shopping. Craft shops are also offering sale after sale for sewers and crafters busy making gifts for family and friends.

In fact, I have received several pamphlets from stores of all kinds with attractive pictures letting me know what is available to decorate with, dress in, to eat, or gift to others. From do it myself to let them do everything, from rustic to sparkling, in every taste and every wallet in mind. The retailers have us covered. Nothing is left to chance. Lay-a-way, easy payment plans, delayed payment, no interest plans are all available to make sure we can get everything we want for everyone on our list. But beware! The bill will come due!

In fact, fellow bloggers have already started posting their offering. You might like to check out these masterpieces by Project Easier or this cute snowman posted by Hopeful for Serendipity .

Time to get busy people, but first, I have a movie to enjoy.

Creative Backlash to Disney

The muses were far from me this morning, so I went looking for inspiration and I found it in a quirky little post by Michelle Zacharias on her blog Viewed from the Outside. Not only is she an amazing artist, but she features amazing artists. In her post Flipside of Morning TV. Zacharias asks, “Why are people sacrificing their childhood icons instead of creating their own characters or images?” I think I know the answer.

We are inundated with cute. It is everywhere. We are force-fed cute at every opportunity, and at some point even the most mild person gets fed up. We owe genius Walt Disney a great debt for his contribution to family entertainment, but enough is enough! Some marketing genius decided we need toys, lunch boxes, glasses, cups, pillow cases, wallpaper, dolls, stuffed animals, hats and clothing that our children can not live without.

We are getting ready for Halloween and mothers and grandmothers are sewing costumes across the land, and Disney characters rank very high in the most sewn costumes. Fortunately, Frozen seems to have had this firmly in mind when they designed the characters. I have several little cousins dressing as Elsa this year as a result. I have heard more than one sweet looking little gray-haired grandmother wish she could get her hands on the entire bunch of Disney princesses and hack them apart with their sewing scissors. All day, every day little girls dress, sing, and act out the Disney princesses. The adults who love them fear the little might like to learn or experience something else, and are frustrated to the point of fantasizing violence, yet still reluctant to deny their little ones anything that brings them joy.

I don’t know if a certain purple dinosaur is still around, but his little song (“I love you. You love me. We’re a perfect family.”) had grown men and women wanting to tear his stuffing out. He was cute, he was purple, their kids were obsessed with him, and they had to listen to that song every waking moment. Any repetition will make you absolutely crazy! no matter how cute.

Marketing with cute cuddly critters, sparkles, stars, superheroes and logos are covering everything we might want to buy for our children. I wanted to buy a plain sweatshirt for a creative project, and had a hard time finding one. Sometimes we just want to put our own creative touch to things. We just need a break. I enjoyed the Flipside of Morning TV. I hope you do too.

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