business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, we posted a story about how the Chicago Tribune was going to start a 25-cent daily tabloid just for people 18-34, acknowledging that because these people are not reading traditional newspapers, they may be attracted by a publication that speaks to them about the issues they care about. We wondered why this kind of demographic-specific marketing hasn’t found its way to food stores, which may be viewed by this same group as irrelevant or anachronistic.

MNB user Kristen Northrup responded:

“I'm further away from that demographic than I like to acknowledge, but back then I would have been insulted on a few levels. For starters, it's patronizing. You're not a real grown-up yet. You need a paper with training wheels. And I don't cotton to marketing that goes overboard with being women-centric either. Why do we have to always be totally different species? We spend far more time these days focusing on how we're different from each other rather than what we have in common. Celebrating diversity and all that is great, but lets remind people of the reasons we have to live together too.

Another member of the MNB community wrote:

“In Toronto, Canada, there are two such newspapers.

“One, owned by the leading daily, the Toronto Star, was brought out to compete with a weekly that has been around for 25 years plus and regularly puts 64 pages on the street in tabloid format each week.

“Focus is on music and entertainment but also includes some Jimmy Breslin style political coverage.

“Supermarkets catering to this demographic?

“That would call for a massive change in mindset.”

True…but we think it is a mindset shift that may need to be made.

But let’s address Kristen’s comments for a moment.

Ideally, she’s right. It would be nice if these kinds of targeted marketing efforts weren’t always necessary, if words like “diversity” and “divisive” weren’t interchangeable.

But the reality is, they are.

All we were suggesting is that retailers ought to seriously consider the possibility that the stores and strategies they are building today may not be appropriate for the target demographics of tomorrow…and that they ought to be considering how to appeal to these folks in ways tat make sense to the customer, not the retailer.

Ironically, the story that prompted this rant on our part, about publishing newspapers just for young people, actually outrages us. We think that part of the problem with society is that not enough people read newspapers and magazines and books, but instead rely on television and the computer too often for all their information and entertainment. Sometimes narrow-casting and narrow-marketing lead to narrow people.

And there are too damn many of those in the world today.

But that’s just our perspective…
KC's View: