Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Spaghetti Sauce Tribes

In a previous post, I focused on what would influence me with regard to moving to full cost accounting. This focus suggested that there was, perhaps, a "right" answer for getting everyone to make this move.

As much as I'd love for that idea to be true: that there is some Platonic argument that would sway everyone, at least two minds greater than my own who have done much thinking on this topic would disagree:
  • Malcolm Gladwell talking about the lessons of spaghetti sauce: "There is no best spaghetti sauce, only best spaghetti sauces."
  • Seth Godin thinking about 
Galdwell's advice is easy: Some people prefer sauce that is pragmatic, purely cost based and some prefer sauce that is high on ideals, justice and aspiration. Ok. Fair enough. Finding more ways to interpret the value of something the better.

So what do I do with Seth Godin's insight into niches and tribes when I need to motivate "everyone" to participate in the project?
  • If I want to give up, I can say that only a few groups are capable of being mobilized in any meaningful way and target those groups.
  • If I want to take the hard road, I can look for the thousand segmentations that pick off the non-average from any given grouping.
Somewhere in the middle probably lies the reasonable path: target a few with special messages, the more the better, and mass market to the rest.

I suppose that is basically the same conclusion as Gladwell and one that really shouldn't surprise anyone in marketing: know your audience and craft the value statement appropriately. If you have more than one audience, you should know that too.

The sad part is, maybe it doesn't work for saving the planet:
"There was no evidence, Bradshaw said, that rich nations — which have greater access to clean energy technologies — have a reduced environmental impact because of increased environmental awareness."