February 16, 2012

Observations About Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine

Ok, you've been hearing about Judy, Jennifer and Jasmine for close to a month.  You're going to hear about them more in the future.  My web analytics data on each persona reveals your perceptions about each individual.

In order, you prefer Jasmine first, then Judy, and Jennifer last.  If I put Jennifer in the subject line, you tune out.  This is so reflective of what we read in the trade journals and on Twitter, isn't it?  We're either told that we have to be "multichannel" ... which is ultimately a way of saying "we need to communicate with Judy", or we have mobile/social/local shoved down our throats like a garden hose hemorrhaging water.

The folks who have a passion for Jennifer have a passion for tactics, and for good reason.  Marketers speaking to Jennifer use tools like Google Analytics ... and as we all know, this tool doesn't allow us to do true customer-level research, so we never know the customer, we only know sporadic, channel-based facts about Jennifer.  Facts like the search terms she uses, the affiliates she snaps up a coupon code from, facts like her love for email marketing that results in 1 in 400 people who receive an email campaign actually buying something that generates profit.  When it comes to Jennifer, we only know tactics, we don't know the lady.  It's the great weakness of the "Jennifer Generation" of marketers/analysts.

Many of you love Judy.  I think this is because many of you can relate to her.  This is also a weakness ... many of you help run companies that cater to Judy, you are in her cohort, so you understand what motivates her.  This deep, thorough understanding limits knowledge of Jennifer, and as a result, has some catalog brands on the verge of falling off of a cliff.  Go perform a demographic analysis of your customer base.  Is your average customer 59 years old, or 64 years old?  If your customer is that old, ask yourself what you're going to do in five years when this customer is now 64-69 years old, or in ten years when your customer is 69-74 years old?

I realize that you're hoping that you'll be retired by the time your customer falls off the commerce cliff into retirement, but somebody is going to have to deal with this.  Don't put this problem off for five years, why not start trying to relate to Jennifer today?  I know, you don't have a passion for Jennifer, for this iPad-toting 43 year old professional who desperately wants to purchase with 20% off and free shipping.  You don't have a choice, folks.  Get to know Jennifer, start relating to her before it is too late.  For many catalogers, we're about to cross over into the realm where it is too late.

Your love of Jasmine is more of a curiosity than anything else.  You click on all of the links, checking out the businesses I mention ... whereas you don't click on any of Jennifer's links.  Here's where things get interesting ... the feedback stops after the links are clicked.  In other words, you want to know what Jasmine is doing, you don't necessarily want to take advantage of what Jasmine is doing.  You want to know that she likes buying a handbag for $99 on MyHabit instead of paying $399 at Nordstrom ... but you don't care about creating a business model to compete with MyHabit.  This is important, folks.  I get feedback like "but how do I get Jasmine to buy from my catalog?" or "nobody buys from social commerce" or "we can't sell something below cost" or "this audience isn't big enough to matter."  We won't get Jasmine to buy from a catalog.  And yes, almost nobody buys from social commerce today, and social commerce as defined today won't be what it will be in five years so why invest today, and I realize you can't sell below cost but maybe other companies have figured out different business models that allow them to cobble together a profit (or not), and yes, the audience isn't big enough to matter today, but it will be big enough to matter in five or ten years ... at the same time when the catalog generation retires.

So all of this is interesting, folks.  Your clicks, what you choose to look at, what you decide to focus on, dictate what you get from this series.  Your clicks suggest that you like Judy, you enjoy reading about Jasmine the most, and suggest that many of you really don't understand or have a passion for Jennifer, fueled by a focus on the tools that you use to analyze Jennifer (i.e. Google Analytics).

We end this post with an opportunity for you to share your thoughts ... what do you think of Judy, Jennifer, or Jasmine?  What resonates with you, what doesn't make sense whatsoever?  Who do you like, who don't you like?  What am I right about, what am I off base about?

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