We had an interesting discussion in my web analytics class a few days ago. I was born in California, but grew up in Utah, which is culturally isolated by almost anyone’s standards, although that is beginning to change. With that little caveat, my intent is not to offend, but simply to explore some of what was said a little more. Our class notes can be found on the class website.
One cause of increasing awareness of differences is simply the decline of isolation. As communication becomes easier and easier, it is harder to remain in isolation and continue doing things the way we’ve always done. Adapting to a global world is becoming an ever-increasing necessity. Other reasons that there are cultural differences range from political and economic differences to differences in religion and the interaction of parents and children. We are different in the way that we see images, the way that we approach logical problems, and the way that we link cause and effect. Cultural differences exist in just about every way that you can imagine.
So what do we do about it. Probably the most interesting part of the class discussion was the ways that we deal with these differences. The ways that we adapt.
Without going into the details of each step, we start with denial, move into defensiveness, then begin to minimize our differences. After that we begin to accept and respect others cultures, followed by adaptation, and finally integration. After a bit of self-introspection and a few months in Seattle, I would put myself around stage 4 in acceptance. I’ve had enough exposure to know that my ways of thinking are not better than anyone else’s they are just different.
So what does all this mean for web analytics? It means that as marketing is not just about finding a marketing plan that accomplishes what you want it to. It means that audiences that were never intended to hear your message now have access to it. It means that a you must either create multiple message for each of your different audiences or you’ve got to somehow create one message that can span the diversity in all your audiences. How do you do that? That’s a topic for another day (read “I don’t really know”).