Interesting sessions on the future of life and the Net

I’m at the Stanford Legal Futures Conference, which today adopted a FOO Camp approach that, in truth, isn’t that FOOish. Last night they posted the schedule, which has multiple panels with five or six smart people on each. OK.

But that doesn’t mean the sessions aren’t full of great stuff.

One small snippet: Jay Rosen quoted Raymond Williams saying “There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.” Then he proceeded to draw a distinction between inferring consumer behavior and following people’s actions, where action is what people do when they exercise their freedom.

It’ll take me a while to digest this, but it gives me a useful way to explain a trend I’m seeing, which is the slow death of traditional market segment analysis and the inference of behaviors in order to run marketing campaigns.

What replaces it? Good listening, fast following, smart adaptation. Segments vanish because their assumptions break all the time. Micro-niches emerge as people from different segments act in similar ways. Some grow really large; most stay small.

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About Jerry Michalski

Lateral thinker, itinerant troublemaker, convener, idea mill.
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One Response to Interesting sessions on the future of life and the Net

  1. mickyates says:

    Jerry – nice quote from Raymond Williams. In my experience, the “marketer’s trick” is to use the understanding of behaviors to create manageable segements. The aim is to create some form of critical mass of understanding to take action on.

    Micro-niches are interesting but not very useful to act upon. Traditional socio-economic segmentations are virtually useless. Actual behaviors (“you are what you buy”) are more useful.

    Mick

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