Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blog Misdirection?

Quite a bit of buzzing about blog marketing these days, including some comments from Greg Jarboe, president and cofounder of SEO-PR in an AMA e-zine article. He says marketers should become the authoritative voice on a subject and speak to blog readers, who are not ‘the average person.’

According to Jarboe, 57% of blog readers are men, and most are under age 30, higher-income and well-educated. As broadband users and Internet veterans, blog readers are sophisticated consumers, and knowing how to speak to this audience could give marketers a ‘wonderful competitive advantage.’

That 57% bothers me. Jarboe has aimed blog marketers at men. Yet his statistic means that the other 43% of blog readers are women. There’s no attribution of the 57% in the AMA article (or I missed it). It could be off by 2% or 5% depending on the survey. Then maybe blog readership is a 50-50 split. Marketers who aim their blogs only at men are missing half their potential audience, depending on the product or service.

A long time ago, in an agency far, far away, I worked the Tonka Toy account. The conventional wisdom, supported by research, was that 50% of the buyers of “non-riding wheeled transportation toys” – those great big wonderful dump trucks – were women, the mothers of the children who’d get the toys.

Several of us argued strenuously that Tonka was missing the other half of the market: fathers who’d really enjoy how the metal toys were made, the engineering involved, and so on. Did no good. Every Christmas season, Tonka advertising went into home-makers’ magazines.

In a reverse play, Jarboe’s statistic-based statement infers that women don’t do blogs. Given the number of blogs I’ve looked at, the inference is less than accurate. So always question “a” statistic. It’s good for your mental health – and maybe for your advertising program, too.

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