Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Demographics are destiny'

That's a popular catchphrase within the industry. I rely on it, in the abstract. When I'm trying to market a credit card aimed at people 40+, I know from the research that mail solicitations tend to be more successful than the internet. If I'm trying to sell household cleansers to the under 35 crowd, emailing coupons works. Etc., etc. The cool thing about market research is that you can find a study that slices, dices, and analyzes just about every product/media combination you can think of so you can hit people with the right offer in the right way at the right time.

One of my favorite bits of information is profiling by zip code. For some reason birds of a feather do tend to flock together, and consumer behavior can be predicted based on where we live. But why? Do
we set out to live among people who feel as we do? Or do our neighbors influence us?

It's my aunt who has me thinking of this. When I was a little girl, back in the 1960s, she was a hippie. A liberal. She listened to James Brown and had this portrait of President Kennedy hanging by her bedroom door. That was up here, in bluer-than-blue Chicagoland.

Then she moved to Florida. Now she identifies as a Southerner. Where she, like me, grew up a Cub fan, she now follows NASCAR. Though she knows better than to mention it to me or her son (my cousin), I suspect she's a Trump supporter.

My aunt blames Obama for everything. Also, I can tell from her Facebook "likes" that she has no sympathy for the "Oscar So White" movement. Yet eavesdropping on my neighbors in a restaurant last weekend, I heard the couple at the next table were talking about how amusing Obama was on Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and wondering if nascent racism played a part in Will Smith's snub at this year's Oscars.

So did my aunt change and then move to Florida? Or did living down there change her? I'd love to ask her, but I'm afraid that would open the door to conversations about her views that I don't want to have.

So I'm left to just tap my chin, look thoughtfully at the ceiling, and wonder.

1 comment:

  1. Dear God, another reason not to move to Florida!

    Seriously, though, 20 years ago we moved to a redder-than-red collar county. The first election I voted in here, when they asked what ballot I wanted and I said Democrat, it caused a minor flurry while they looked for the correct one to give me, which was then served with a very disapproving look. ;-)

    Maybe I just like being disapproved of?


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