Why it’s risky to market to your ‘average’ customer

Author
Albert Hamilton

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Why is some market research so fixated on averages?

Say we add up the exam scores of ten students and we divide that number by ten.  That gives us their average score – right?  The strange thing is – it is highly unlikely that most, or possibly even any of the students got that exact score.  In other words the average does not describe most or even any of the students!

One argument is that an average is meant to provide information on the customer group – as a group, rather than any individual customer.  This is of course true, but we also need to recognise the limitations.

For example, this average figure can hide polar peaks, polar troughs, an ascending, descending or static population.  A small number of female shoppers visiting frequently, can give the exact same average gender proportions as a large number of females shoppers visiting rarely.

 

When you think about it, an average tells us very little at all.

When it comes to marketing then, pitching to the average consumer runs the risk of minimising your return on investment.  People are not average.  We are the opposite and in a social world of infinite media connections – we want to be treated as individuals.

In our reports CARD Group works hard to show the figures behind averages.  We provide a matrix of the numerous types of consumer and their varied circumstances to help you to evaluate your marketing plans, to further develop your customer segments and improve your marketing strategy.

Talk to us for some true customer insight.  We are not an average market research agency.