We all live in our own bubbles, and our view of the world is largely based on the bubble we’re in. As marketers, CEOs or entrepreneurs we need to understand the scrubbing power of bubbles. Because they will completely scrub who does or does not see and understand our business.
A year and a half ago, I moved from Beavercreek to Xenia. The move was exactly 7.1 miles … just one town over.
Both towns have a Kroger grocery store, but when I want to buy something fun … craft beer, fresh seafood, sushi, you name it … I drive the extra 15-minutes each way to Beavercreek. You see, Beavercreek is in a different bubble.
Beavercreek, my old ‘hood, has a population of 46,277 with a median household income of $81,379, a median household value of $174,000, only 5.2% poverty and 96.9% of the population has an education of high school graduate or above.
I moved to Xenia with a population of 25,976, median household income of $37,138, median household value of $96,400, 26.1% poverty level, and 86.9% high school graduation or more. What a difference 7.1 miles makes! I now live outside of my preferred bubble.
We all live in a bubble, and our view of the world is largely based on the bubble we’re in. As marketers, CEOs or entrepreneurs we need to understand the scrubbing power of bubbles. Because they will completely scrub who does or does not see and understand our business.
Individual bubbles are certainly made up of Age Demographics: It’s why Boomers simply don’t understand Millennials (even though, to a large part, Boomers created every Millennial behavior). Bubbles are made up on Income: Look at the Kroger example. People who only shop in Xenia have no idea of the options available to them six miles away. Bubbles are made up on Race: We do not see the sideways glances and subtle differences until they happen to us.
But age, income and race are obvious, they merely define the outer boundaries of your bubble. To truly understand someone’s bubble, you should look at the nuances. The “little things” greatly define how you see the world.
If you’re health conscious, exercise daily and eat right you see the world differently than the “400-pound guy on his bed in Jersey hacking the DNC emails.” You’re in different worlds. You hang out at different places, you have different friends.
Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist? You all look at the same thing through different lenses.
Do you watch Duck Dynasty, The Bachelor, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory or Documentaries? Do you listen mostly to country, jam bands or smooth jazz?
The more diverse your tastes and tolerances, the bigger your bubble becomes.
What news do you watch?!?! These bubbles were painfully clear in 2016. The exact same events are reported differently on MSNBC and Fox News. When I hang out in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a liberal college town, most TVs are on MSNBC. When I travel to Abilene, TX, every TV is on Fox News. When you talk politics with someone from either town, their views are skewed based on the news they receive on TV and online. It seems that we no longer seek out news to learn, but to justify our current beliefs.
We’ve all had the conversations:
- The 70-year-old Board member says, “I don’t get that ad.”: Good, the target is 25-45.
- “I never hear our radio spots.”: Our target listens to Classic Rock and you only listen to AM talk radio.
- “The message just doesn’t speak to me.”: Because the advertiser only uses white, upper-middleclass models.
To grow your business, you must:
- Understand the bubble that your target lives in. The more you understand their bubble, the more directly you can speak to them.
- Be able to burst your own bubble to see the world through your target’s eyes. The best marketers are empathetic. They are chameleons. Or they have enough diversity to have enormous bubbles themselves.
- Understand that one campaign may need to speak to diverse bubbles. In my Beavercreek/Xenia example, two totally different worlds are just seven miles apart. What does your footprint look like?
The Millennial Bubble
Last night, I was at a gathering with about 30 local, mostly Millennial, entrepreneurs. Hold onto your seats, Gen X and Boomers, here are some quotes:
- “I don’t really have a business plan; we’ll just have fun with it and see where it goes.”
- “When I started my business (a tattoo shop), I sucked at giving tattoos, but I’ve gotten really good.” (you gotta feel for those first few clients!!!)
- “It’s about making a difference, not making money. If you’re not making a difference, why do it.”
- “I figure I’ll just get stared and see where the journey takes me.”
No judgements … this is THEIR bubble.
Understanding bubbles is critical in business and in your personal life. Every time you find yourself frustrated and shouting with your internal voice, “I just don’t understand why he can’t see that…,” or, “Why does she always … doesn’t she know that …,” try to poke your head into their bubble and understand their perspective.
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