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-Target Marketing - Can We Talk
by Bill Brewer
Business News Briefs
for a Change
Off-Target Marketing - Can We Talk?
I am a baby boomer. I have never been a DINK.
Since I have lived in mostly rural areas, I have never been a Yuppie. And
unlike many of our readers who are responding to last months reader
poll with strongly worded opinions, I dont know how I feel about Gen
Xers. In fact, I tend to resent broad-banding labels of any age group, socio-economic
group or cultural class. Now I admit in our market-driven society targeting
is the name of the game. And if it helps Coke or Phillip Morris to conveniently
label one age groupso be it.
The problem is that a label, any label, creates disconnection among people.
And in the last quarter of a century labeling seems to be where its
at for many. Not just in marketing but in our workplaces. We look at colleagues
and co-workers by their social style, Myers-Briggs profile or enneagram.
Perhaps for greater understanding, but how many times is it a way to dismiss
or manipulate difficult people? And in the psychobabble of the late 80s
and early 90s, we were all too aware of how my female child was getting
hooked by your male parent causing my normally ENFJ personality to retreat
to its secondary position.
Isnt there a place for a good venting between two consenting adults
every now and then? Granted it should be a venting using the best practices
of active listening (which might be just a more subtle way to control the
conversation). At least in a venting there is energy, honesty, as ugly as
it might be, and real connection.
I work with many so-called Gen Xers. We have our problems connecting as
individuals around our work but I am not certain that these problems are
generational. We are all, after all, the sum of everything we have seen,
done, thought, imagined or experienced. We bring this to any connection
we want to make around our work or in our lives. I am not certain that by
classifying any group of people as a generation or a social style enhances
In this issue, Meg Wheatley talks about how difficult it is to connect
on a deeply personal level. She admits that we are all struggling with how
we account for a whole human being and still get the job done, realizing
there is no set answer or method to establish that connection. Thats
perhaps why I am skeptical of any classification of another person as actually
helping us connectits just too easy. Being born in the 50s
as a boomer or the 70s as a Gen Xer just tells us how old we are. But for
real connection I want to know what things you have seen, done, thought,
imagined or experienced and how that helps us connect around the work we
have before us in service to the larger organization. Next month, News for
A Change will devote an entire issue on the concept of trust. I would like
to know your views on how labels, social styles, etc. enhance or detract
from establishing trusting, mutually accountable relationships. And by the
way, the results of our reader poll concerning working with Gen Xers will
also appear. You still have time to share your thoughts. Visit our website
at www.aqp.org and respond on line.
You must, however, be eighteen or older.