Human Behavior

21 04 2008

It’s been a while, almost two weeks since I’ve actually blogged. Life has been next to hectic, and still is. However, today is my birthday, so I am actually taking the time to do things I enjoy. Before my study marathon tonight….because finals are this week. So, there was an article in the NYT last week that sparked my interest. Human behavior has always been fascinating to me, and it was because of that that I chose to study marketing as an undergraduate. Why not psychology? Well, because I am interested in the parts of human behavior that drive consumer choices. So, who buys what and for what reasons. Marketers study these behaviors in order to know who to market products to and how best to approach them. The idea is called targeting. Well, with all the advances that have been made in research methods, we can take it a step farther and start microtargeting. Microtargeting takes it to a whole new level, beyond demographic, geographic, and psyhographic information. This article was all about microtargeting used by pollsters for political campaigns. *as a side note, political science and business are very separate in college, which I think only harms the spread of new and inventive marketing tactics* Like minded people are targeted not based on age and gender, but instead based on what television shows they watch, the magazines or newspapers they subscribe to, and even the purchases they make at the grocery store. The article points to several specific food stuffs and can pinpoint which candidate you are likely to vote for based on your purchase of any of these items. “For example, Dr Pepper is a Republican soda. Pepsi-Cola and Sprite are Democratic. So are most clear liquors, like gin and vodka, along with white wine and Evian water. Republicans skew toward brown liquors like bourbon or scotch, red wine and Fiji water.” This is a tiny excerpt from the article by Kim Severson. Can you categorize your friends (politically) based on their likes and dislikes?
How does any of this help in a political campaign? Well, there is some debate about how much help this level of microtargeting does help. It won’t help you convince someone that your healthcare plan is better than the other guy’s, but it can definitely help you know where to advertise. Microtargeting is business tool that has just recently been noticed in the world of political marketing, something I choose to think of as social marketing. It’s on the rise, and we are going to see more and more in the coming election. Read the full article here.


Explaining online politics through classic rock « Alex Kellner

14 04 2008

Explaining online politics through classic rock « Alex Kellner
This was an interesting post by my good buddy Alex, and I just thought I would share it.

Dr. Death in Congress

25 03 2008

As if we don’t have enough characters in the United States Congress already…Dr. Jack Kevorkian has announced that he is running for a congressional seat in Michigan as an independent. We’ve all heard of Dr. Kevorkian, otherwise known as Dr. Death. He was convicted in 1998 for assisting in the suicide of a patient in the final stages of ALS. This was not the first time Kevorkian had been on trial for assisting suicide. His medical license was revoked in 1991 by the state of Michigan. According to Kevorkian’s lawyer, he assisted in the deaths of over 100 terminally ill patients between 1990 and 1998. Then in 1998 he was convicted of second-degree homicide of patient Thomas Youk. Youk was in the final stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often times called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Kevorkian was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison for second degree homicide, charged so because Youk was physically inable to kill himself. Terminally ill from a strain of hepatitis C which he contracted while researching in Vietnam, Kevorkian was not expected to live much after May of 2006. But he has and is, and was paroled in June of 2007 for good behavior. He wasn’t running around helping people die in prison, I suppose. On March 12th, he announced that he will seek a seat in Congress, running against long-term Michigan congressman Joe Knollenberg (R). One of his main goals is to decriminalize doctor-assisted suicide. Does it sound like Congress is becoming more and more like the setting for a cartoon?

Not again…

25 02 2008

Well, what else can I say. Ralph Nader announced on Sunday (2/26) that he will run for President as a third-party candidate. I don’t know what he is thinking. He has run for President, what, 47,000 times already (4 times, ’92, ’96, ’00, ’04, and ’08 will be *lucky* number 5)? He announced on “Meet the Press” that part of his decision was driven by attempts to keep him out of the race in 2004. “They were mean to me last time. I’ll show them.” I don’t think that people should be denied the opportunity to run for President if they have a legitimate reason to run for the office. And I suppose that Mr. Nader did some excellent consumer advocacy work back in the 60s with automobile companies, but does that give him the credence to run for President? No, not to run, to be elected. Let him run, if he wants to. Let whomever run that wants to. But he isn’t going to be put on the ballot in some states. And he’s going to get even fewer votes than he did last time. Why? Because 1) the people who would generally vote for him already have a candidate that they can get behind. The young voters that would vote for him are behind Barack Obama, and 2) He’s become a stodgy old guy, and this gen’s Ross Perot. The guy that people look at and think, why? Ok, you have something to say, but you’ve said it 100 times, and now it is just starting to look sad. We appreciate what you are trying to do, but step aside and let some of these other (younger) people work on it. These are your issues, but they are ours too. We’ll help you get it done if you will get out of the way and let us talk to the people that are in more of a position to do something about it. Honestly, Mr. Nader, if you cared about these issues, you would spend your time, money, and efforts into solving, or fighting to solve the problem, rather than campaigning for a position that you are never going to win, and possibly hurting the people that would help you the most were they elected. Read more at NY Times.