Understanding every average
We’ve already talked a bit about Maggie Gross and her SXSW Interactive session on her research project “Understanding Average” here at SXTXState. Now that the session has happened, however, it’s an appropriate moment to refresh our memories. Here are some of the highlights of her talk.
- Those who live in the top ten most populous American cities and those who live outside of them are quite different from one another. This dividing line creates what Gross terms a “top average” and a “middle average.” Every person in the country is part of one of these averages.
- Being a member of one of these respective averages can mean having inaccurate notions about members of the other average.
- Marketers and advertisers will have greater success if they take into account the fact that two averages exist. They should figure out which one they want to appeal to and build their campaigns around their traits.
- The key to more fully understanding the differences between these averages is not just data, but empathetic data. Empathetic data focuses on asking the right questions.
- If we can make greater use of empathetic data, we can stop making incorrect assumptions about other people.
- Different media diets have a lot to do with the differences across the averages.
- Proving badge value is more likely to endear a product to the top average. The middle average tends to base their decisions primarily on quality.
- Members of the top average are often credited with being a better, more engaged citizenry. The truth is that they are often able to meet higher standards because metropolitan areas incentivize more socially conscious behavior. We need to find ways to incentivize pro-social behavior everywhere.
Check out the most important takeaways from Gross’ presentation in her own words below.