Ideal, Average and Outlier

by Seth Godin

Generalizations are the heart of marketing decision-making. When we look at an audience–customers, prospects, constituents–we make decisions on the whole based on our assumptions about the individuals within the group.

ObjectivesBut are we basing those generalizations on our vision of the ideal member of the tribe, the average member or the outlier who got our attention?

It’s easy, for example, to defend high-priced famous colleges if you focus on the ideal situation. The ideal student, getting instruction from the ideal professor and making ideal progress. No one can argue with this.

On the other hand, when we see the outlier (the person who is manipulating the system, or the one who is being harmed by it) it’s easy to generalize in precisely the other direction, deciding that the entire system isn’t worth saving.

And finally, it’s tempting to rely on the average, to boil down populations of people into simple numbers. The problem with this, of course, is that if one foot is in a bucket of ice water and the other is being scalded, on average, you should be comfortable.

Before we start making decisions about markets, tribes and policy, we need to get clear about which signals we’re using and what we’re trying to focus on or improve.

Advertisements

About gabulmer

Christian apologist, husband, father, runner, blogger, leader with LIFE Leadership.
This entry was posted in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s