Noone says that they read Playboy. They just keep buying it. This is the Playboy effect that impacts research. If something is less socially acceptable then you tend not to share it publicly. Same reason why most people share only happy stuff on Facebook. Or don’t say they are going to vote for Trump even if they are definitely planning to.
As marketers it’s important to keep this in mind because this bias can impact lots of research conclusions, especially those which are based on public or social media sentiment. You may see lots of people liking your aspirational brand/event/ book but not actually buying it, while not many may “like” sin products/discount goods/health products but will buy them in droves. For example, if you go by what parents SAY, their kids hardly watch cartoons or hang out on YouTube. But kids and education channels have over 400 million subscribers on YouTube, and are an important enough segment to launch a special product just for them – YouTube Kids. Ditto chocolates – ask anyone and it is highly restricted consumption, but check their shopping baskets and you’ll see a different set of data.At our CMO Roundtable co-hosted with Microsoft last week I heard about Sahadev (from the Mahabharat) in the context of data for the first time. Sahadev knows everything but is cursed to not tell the answer unless asked. And that’s the story of the marketer now – all the data is there, somewhere. It’s just asking the right questions. And then having the tools to extract the answer. In the same Roundtable, I learned that the self-employed tend to buy clothes that stand out whereas the employed tend to buy clothes that blend in. And that herbal, natural products are seeing a definite rise in consumption. What you do with that data is what makes you a cool marketer. So even as facts and data become ubiquitous, human intelligence will be required to creatively frame the problem and questions. My thanks to the CMOs from Future Group, IndusInd Bank, Glenmark, Taj, Nivea, Raymond, IMRB Kantar, Spykar, and Bombay Stock Exchange who made this Roundtable a lively peer-learning opportunity. Photos of the program are here.
This week also saw us co-host a Tweetchat with IBM India on #cmoindia on whether social media is creating unrealistic expectations of customer service. The majority view was simple – the customer is always right. And it’s upto marketers to manage these expectations. Here’s the summary of the chat.
I’ve been saying for a while that with the rise of paid media the opportunity for PR is constantly shrinking. The exceptions are really large employers and big listed firms – because of the public interest and hence editorial value. Or so I thought. But in the past couple of days we’ve seen full page ads by the Tata Group advancing their side of the argument, even as Cyrus Mistry continues to get editorial coverage. But the final proof for me that PR doesn’t work any more is the ad by the Tata’s agency, Rediffusion, defending themselves against Mr Mistry’s claims. I mean if a big, respectable PR firm can’t get its own story told – and a very juicy one at that – what is the hope for others? Might as well acknowledge that ‘free’ editorial is no longer assured and build your paid communication channels accordingly.