Would You Sell to a Handicapped Person?

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Last week I received what I consider one of the more remarkable job applications I have gotten in a long time. I’ve actually reprinted it below (with permission) so you can have a look at it as well.

Adopt a man with handicaps

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As I don’t know him beyond a short email exchange, I’m not going to comment on the merits of the gentleman who wrote it (Mr. Dan Hayon). But to me the message he brings is an allegory of the urgent need for all of us, and especially those in commercial functions, to let go of any prejudice their business still holds on its customer base.

Some of these prejudices are baked into the system. Just have a look at the average rate-card or even media/marketing/agency briefing out there. At least half of the ones I see, still somehow classify customers in pointless segments  like age or gender.

Others are driven by assumptions, the hunt for mass averages and political correctness. For example, even at a cursory look, a majority of (European) adverts still portray healthy 30-something middle class Caucasians. Even though the high street reality in Paris, London or even Copenhagen is clearly different.  And I’m still waiting for that first campaign targeted at 65+ gay couples.

We need to start breaking with these bad customer segmentation habits. Not for moral reasons. But because financially we can no longer afford them. Markets are flat and by making generalized assumptions about customers, we exclude valuable sources of profit and revenue our business will desperately need.

The technology to take a different path and look at each customer as an individual, or at least micro-segment, exists. It’s just a matter of adopting a mindset to use it. 

So ask yourself. Does your business look at its customers for who they really are? Or will they need to go to the same lengths as Dan Hayon, to get your attention?