Segmentation vs. the Air Max

In consulting, we’re obsessed with the idea that customers are rational beings. If we focus our product on the needs of people at the right demographic group with the right income, we’ll capture enough of that market to claim success.

One problem. People aren’t rational.

The Air Max is one of the great displays of this. I’d love to see a true customer segmentation of the Air Max vs. a consultants view of the market entry opportunity for the Air Max.

What would credentials be? Highly active, affluent (they’re over £100 a pair), ‘millennial’. All of which would prove to be misleading metrics for a person’s likelihood to wear the Air Max sneaker.

Instead, you’d want to look at:

  • A consumer’s proximity to cultural movements (music, art, fashion, sports)
  • How high they prioritise objects and artefacts of that culture (how likely they are to eat simpler or socialise less to make the purchase)
  • What provocations (messages, environments, people) would cause them to make the particular purchase

We need to do a lot more to understand customers. A mixture of traditions, customs, beliefs, rituals, social constructs, worship, family, work, economic exchange, knowledge and the broader cultural zeitgeist of the time.