The target groups prevail after the perfect storm

Finally, I found time to read Peter Svarre’s book ”Den Perfekte Storm” (read: ”The Perfect Storm”). It is excellent. Pragmatically, well written and it sharply delivers the tools at a systemic level, to take on the chaotic social medias that have created disorder in the good old structured and calm media universe. And as Timme Bisgaard Munk from the Danish network of professional communicators ”Kommunikationsforum” sums it up, you will consume this book like a crime novel. I did too.

Just a cautionary note

Peter Svarre has a pool of social media friends that have helped him with the book. But the book suffers from it – because it is seen through the eyes of a group of social media first movers (critics would say digital high brow inbreeds). Give me segments: Blue, green, blurry, faithless, postmodern target groups that speak with many voices. Just to mention a few parameters I miss. Has he totally rejected conventional communications tools as old school and out dated?

No longer communicator but facilitator or relations manager

The single most important thing I have learned over the past four or five years as a professional communicator and PR agent, is to focus on relations: The ”R” in PR: Public, private, strong, weak and lasting relations with all kinds of target groups.

Capable people from social media agencies like Wemind and Seismonaut are capitalizing on the social movement by listening in on and facilitating the voices of first, second and – easy to forget – late movers. The late majority and so-called laggards represent 50% of the people out there according to Everett M. Rogers. They do not have a significant voice on social media but are still important consumers, spouses, colleagues and advocates on a good old platform as mouth to mouth. This is not only people from the lower classes, but also people who can touch others – people that Malcolm Gladwell calls connectors, mavens and salesmen in his book “The Tipping Point”. People who define the development, not radically, but in incremental steps because they, among other things,are social in the old analogue sense of the word.  They create development that can still be significant and act as counterweight in defining the future. This is my only and yet strong appeal to the book.

Why is Peter Svarre leaving out segments?

I can only speculate. Maybe it is because he is born out of a tradition of marketing and the advertising business. A tradition where fairy tales rule over the boring social realism that is the mother of good old traditional communication and PR. I hope he will give me the answers in: ”The Perfect Storm vol. II” – I can’t wait to read it.

2 thoughts on “The target groups prevail after the perfect storm

  1. Yes – to a certain degree I am trying to reject traditional communications tools. But not because I come from the world of advertising. Actually I have never really considered myself to be an advertising person. I am more like a postmodern sociologist/economist caught in the world of advertising, PR and communications 😉

    The theoretical foundation of the book, which I state clearly, but do not develop at length, is the postmodern sociology of Giddens and Bauman, which also explains why I am not that fond of segments of many different colors (but basically building on the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu).

    If there is one very important lesson of my book then it is that: “we are living in a world where we have all become media, and in such a world old school segmentation tools are very limited, which also means that many traditional communication tools and theories have become outdated”.

    But nevertheless thanks for the review. I am glad that you liked the book.

  2. Inspiring reading and an interesting discussion ☺

    In many ways, segments are a tool of thought that should not be static and easy to obsolete. On the contrary, it should be interesting to develop.

    Doesn’t the Internet make it necessary for us to use segments to really understand what is going on? – And in even more colours and shades (see: And couldn’t Bourdieu’s forms of Capital and the autobiographical individual of Giddens’ not with ease and advantage be included in this form of thinking?

    And speaking of more/other voices it can be an eye opener to see how the middle-aged women, that almost exclusively use Facebook to take part in different kinds of competitions, often are the ones that create and maintain activity and a social atmosphere on some Facebook sites. They greet each other, wish each other a great weekend and praise products. They are far from digital first movers but nevertheless, they are an important target group to consider. And a digital voice to be heard.

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