All of us think we’re unique. We have our genes, family history and problems, challenges we faced, defeats and wins. But, besides our idiosyncrasies, we’re not that unique as human beings. In fact, we’re 99% social primates and 1% individuals. We love to run with a crowd.

The majority of marketers believe in uniqueness

We develop hundreds of segments and try to target them behaviorally. We segment people out through demographics and psychographics. While this does improve results incrementally, I think it’s based on the wrong premise that more divides us than unites us.

I would argue, more unites us than divides us. There are human truths and needs that are common to everyone. There are cultural differences we need to incorporate in all our messaging but communicating a common truth is more important to people than something that appeals to their false sense of uniqueness. People are not unique. Including you.

The best source of insight: You

Since we’re all the same, it makes sense to start any marketing project with a self-examination. Understanding why we do the things we do. What makes us change behavior. How hard it is to change behavior.

I am a fan of real insight, the revelations derived from real life, not research. And the truth is that the very best place to start in deriving real insight is yourself – so called planning from within. Your forensic understanding of your own behaviour and attitudes is your best first step in understanding how to change that behaviour and those attitudes. You need to look deep into yourself to understand humanity and what drives each one of us. That thinking helped us in one of our latest projects when we discussed with a client at what point people are open to pay more for business class and when they don’t see any value. And we realized that people often are more concerned about getting quickly and comfortable to the plane than getting quickly and comfortable to the destination. They rather pay for quick security checks, lounge access and immediate baggage retrieval than for plush seats in the plane. Dramatically the message.

The good news is that this approach to gathering insights and changing behavior works for almost all of us. The remaining, unique 1% of you need to find a different approach. You’re just too unique. The majority of us are just humans.