300 marketers were asked how real people use tech. Their replies were oh, boy

300 marketers were asked how real people use tech. Their replies were oh, boy
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Just look at that multi-screening. Not as common as you might think.

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We look up to them because they’re so clever.

They get hold of a product, create a story around it, and leave everyone in admiration at their, um, emotional intelligence.

The last 40 years have, surely, been an era in which marketers have revealed their true, all-encompassing power. Whether it be over products or merely in the more mundane sphere of politics.

Why, Apple is thought by many (a tech nerd) to be entirely the creation of marketing mumbo-jumbo.

I found myself palpitating at irregular rhythms, therefore, when I happened upon a survey conducted by Ipsos Canada.

The research company asked 300 Canadian marketing and advertising professionals about how real people use some of the most uplifting technologies of our day. You know, Netflix, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.

You might expect these creators of our present and future to be entirely au fait with consumer habits.

You might also expect roses to smell of Swedish beer.

You see, when asked how many hours a day consumers watched streaming TV such as Netflix, the marketers said 2.8 hours. The consumers, on the other hand, said 1.3 hours.

Well, the marketers were only wrong by just over 100%. 

They were also asked how many hours a day people spend on social media. They said 3 hours. The survey said 1.6 hours.

What about Instagram? Oh, 91% of people are on that, said the marketers. The survey revealed it was 42%.

As for Twitter, it was marketers saying 75% of people are on it and real people insisting nope, it’s just 25%.

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I was detecting a pattern here and it wasn’t decorous. Whether it was the time spent on practical tasks online or on-demand TV, the marketers were mistaken by more than 100% and 200%, respectively.

Surely, though, they’d have a feel for how many people are on Spotify, right? Well, the marketers said 74%. The correct answer was 25%.

But what about TikTok? Everyone knows that the majority of TikTokers are barely out of diapers. Sadly, the marketers were convinced that 56% of Canadians were on it. They were slightly off. The survey said 13%.

I can feel certain conclusions bubbling inside you, some of them about marketers and some of them about Canadians.

Please let me interpolate that Ipsos concluded that marketers are younger, multi-screening Toronto-dwellers, rather than representatives of the country’s majority. They, therefore, see the rest of the country through their own refined — some might say narrow — prisms.

Could it be, then, that marketers aren’t as well-attuned to the lives of consumers as they might think? (Who’s going to tell them that regular TV viewing is actually going up?)

Or could it be that marketers can often be more worried about what the campaigns they run say about them and their careers than whether those campaigns will touch real consumers?

Your average chief marketing officer spends just over three and a half years in their job. That isn’t a lot of time to make your mark and your money. 

And then there’s the reaction of your peers, which can drive you to unreasonable joy or demented despair and drink.

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It’s an unfortunately fragile business, marketing. It’s changing, too. Increasingly, it’s older people who have the most disposable income, not the precious 18 to 49 crowd.

How can you possibly do something cool for boomers? Oh, the torture of it.


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