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The Invisible Parasol And The New Ford Escape

There are 31-year-olds who live in their parents’ basement and volunteer at the soup kitchen. There are 42-year-old single mothers who work from home as angel investors. There are 88-year-old snow birds who drive to Phoenix every winter, not to golf, but to run in the marathon. Everyone has a story. Some more unusual than others.

These stories, and generalizations thereof, are what marketers zero in on like Obama on Osama, and vice versa.

Marketers, like politicians and terrorists, want to know all about us. They want to be our pen pals but they don’t want to write back. That sounds a bit like stalking because it is. But the goal of marketing isn’t just to creep, it’s to sell.

Obviously, marketers can’t talk to every single potential buyer – asking them what they like and don’t like – that’s too time consuming and too expensive. Fortunately for them, there are terabytes of cheap personal data at the ready. As buyers have opened themselves to the world of the web, giving away their innermost desires as a means of “sharing”, marketers are now able to peg us with alarming accuracy. That’s part of the reason why, even though finding one without corn starch is nearly impossible, we have 145 kinds of yogurt at the grocery store. It’s also why Google Ads assaults my father with “Collector’s WW2 Uniforms” ads whether he’s checking out CarEnvy or IDF.il. It’s also why we have cars like the Mercedes CLS63 AMG and its simply sultry Shooting Brake sister. Specificity of both supply and demand are on the up and up. Differentiating ourselves from the masses has undeniable appeal.

As a result, as any marketer worth his square glasses will tell you, there are infinite and one niches. Due to the abundance of data now available, these segments of the population are often diced so finely that the greater whole to which they belong is lost entirely. Marketers are effectively staring at Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte so closely that they’re unable to see even a single parasol.

In marketing today, a man who likes fast cars, cold beer, and high-impact sports is as invisible as the parasol. He’s too big to notice. And yet he exists, defiant of their ignorance.

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