Something New: Segmentation and Dunning-Kruger

Marketing segmentation is a critical aspect of any successful marketing strategy. It involves dividing a market into smaller groups of consumers with similar needs or characteristics, in order to target them more effectively. However, it seems that some companies and marketers are failing to fully understand the importance of proper segmentation, and instead are relying on their own flawed assumptions and biases.

One of the biggest culprits of this failure is the Dunning-Kruger effect. This cognitive bias, named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger, is when people with low ability in a particular task overestimate their ability. This can lead to marketers overestimating their understanding of consumer behavior and making costly errors in their marketing strategies.

It’s absolutely unacceptable that companies and marketers are not taking the time to truly understand their target audience and segment them properly. Instead, they are relying on stereotypes and assumptions, and then wonder why their campaigns aren’t resonating with consumers. This is not only lazy, but it’s also a disservice to the consumers themselves, who are not being properly understood or served.

Furthermore, it’s not just the Dunning-Kruger effect that is causing these marketing errors. Companies are also failing to conduct proper market research, which is crucial to gaining a deeper understanding of target audiences and their needs. Without this research, companies are shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. Part of that research is doing the testing that is needed, to know not just that they can identify a segment but that they can actually change their behavior. Failing to do so just leaves groups targeting meaningless distinctions that provide no value to user or company.

It’s time for companies and marketers to wake up and take segmentation seriously. It’s not just about dividing the market into groups, it’s about truly understanding the needs and wants of those groups and tailoring strategies to effectively reach and engage them. And if companies and marketers don’t have the expertise or knowledge to do this, then it’s time to bring in experts who do.

In short, enough with the excuses and the relying on flawed assumptions and biases, it’s time to put in the work and do segmentation right. Consumers deserve better and companies will ultimately benefit from it.


Something New: Rant – Product Management Best Practices

Product management best practices are guidelines and techniques that are widely accepted as effective ways to manage the development and marketing of a product. However, despite their popularity and widespread use, there are several problems with product management best practices that can hinder the success of a product.

One issue is that best practices can often become overused and formulaic. When product managers follow best practices too closely, they risk losing their creativity and uniqueness. For example, many best practices recommend using market research to gather customer insights and inform product decisions. While market research is certainly important, relying solely on it can lead to a product that is too generic and doesn’t stand out in the market.

Another problem with best practices is that they can be overly rigid and inflexible. Product managers may feel pressure to follow best practices to the letter, even if the specific circumstances of their product or market don’t warrant it. This can lead to a lack of agility and the inability to adapt to changing market conditions.

Another issue is that best practices can be influenced by the biases and personal experiences of those who develop them. For example, best practices that are developed by successful Silicon Valley startups may not be applicable to smaller companies or businesses in other industries. This can create a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t take into account the unique needs and challenges of different products and markets.

Additionally, best practices can be time-consuming and resource-intensive to implement. Product managers may find themselves spending a disproportionate amount of time and resources on following best practices, rather than focusing on the needs of the product and the customers. This can lead to a lack of focus and a dilution of resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Another problem with best practices is that they can create a false sense of security. Product managers may feel that as long as they are following best practices, they are doing everything they can to ensure the success of their product. However, this can be a dangerous mindset as it can lead to complacency and a lack of innovation.

Best practices can also lead to a lack of accountability and ownership. Product managers may feel that as long as they are following best practices, they are absolved of any responsibility for the success or failure of their product. This can lead to a lack of ownership and accountability, which is essential for driving results and ensuring that the product is meeting the needs of the customers.

Overall, while product management best practices can be useful guidelines, they can also create problems if they are blindly followed or not tailored to the specific needs of the product and market. It is important for product managers to use best practices as a starting point, but to also be flexible and open to adapting and innovating in order to achieve the best results for their product.

Something New: Simpson’s Paradox

Simpson’s paradox, also known as the Yule-Simpson effect, is a statistical phenomenon that occurs when the relationship between two variables appears to be reversed when analyzed separately, but is actually the opposite when analyzed together. This paradox can be confusing and can lead to incorrect conclusions being drawn.

The paradox was first identified by Edward Simpson in 1951, and is named after him. It is a common occurrence in statistical analysis, and can be seen in many different fields, including social science, economics, and medicine.

One classic example of Simpson’s paradox involves a study on the effectiveness of a new drug. In this study, the researchers found that the new drug was more effective in reducing the number of heart attacks in men than in women. However, when the data was further analyzed, it was discovered that the new drug was actually more effective in reducing the number of heart attacks in women than in men.

So, why did the initial analysis show the opposite result? The answer lies in the fact that the number of men and women in the study was not equal. There were more men in the study, and therefore, the results for men had a larger impact on the overall results.

Simpson’s paradox can also be seen in studies on education. For example, a study may find that students in a certain school district perform better on standardized tests than students in a neighboring district. However, when the data is further analyzed, it may be discovered that the students in the neighboring district come from more disadvantaged backgrounds, and therefore, their test scores may not be representative of their true abilities.

Another example of Simpson’s paradox can be seen in the hiring practices of a company. A company may find that they are more likely to hire male candidates over female candidates. However, when the data is further analyzed, it may be discovered that the male candidates were more qualified, and therefore, were more likely to be hired.

So, how can we avoid the pitfalls of Simpson’s paradox? One way is to carefully analyze the data and consider all possible factors that may be influencing the results. It is also important to consider the sample size, as small sample sizes can lead to skewed results.

Another way to avoid Simpson’s paradox is to use statistical techniques, such as stratified sampling, which involves dividing the population into different subgroups and analyzing the data within each subgroup. This can help to identify any underlying trends or patterns that may not be apparent when the data is analyzed as a whole.

Simpson’s paradox can also be avoided by using multivariate analysis, which involves considering multiple variables at once. This can help to identify any interactions or correlations between variables that may not be apparent when considering each variable individually.

Overall, Simpson’s paradox is a common occurrence in statistical analysis, and it is important to be aware of it in order to avoid drawing incorrect conclusions. By carefully analyzing the data and considering all possible factors, it is possible to avoid the pitfalls of Simpson’s paradox and draw more accurate conclusions.

Something New: Bandit Based Yield Theory

Bandit based yield theory is a branch of economics that deals with the problem of how to optimally allocate resources when there is uncertainty about the returns on different investments. The term “bandit” refers to the fact that there is an element of risk involved in these investments, as there is a chance that the returns will be lower than expected or that the investment will fail entirely.

At its core, bandit based yield theory is concerned with finding the optimal balance between exploration and exploitation. Exploration refers to the process of trying out new investments or strategies in order to learn more about their potential returns. Exploitation, on the other hand, involves sticking with what has been proven to be successful in the past and maximizing the returns from those investments.

The problem with exploration is that it can be risky and costly, as there is no guarantee that the new investments will be successful. On the other hand, if an investor only focuses on exploitation, they may miss out on potential opportunities for higher returns. The goal of bandit based yield theory is to find the optimal balance between these two conflicting objectives.

One of the key concepts in bandit based yield theory is the concept of the “multi-armed bandit”. This refers to a situation where an investor has a number of different investments to choose from, each with its own potential returns and risks. The investor must decide which investments to pursue in order to maximize their overall returns, while also taking into account the level of risk involved in each investment.

One approach to solving the multi-armed bandit problem is the “explore-then-commit” strategy, which involves initially exploring a number of different investments in order to gather information about their potential returns. Once the investor has gathered enough information, they can then commit to the investment with the highest expected return.

Another approach is the “optimistic initial values” strategy, which involves initially assigning high expected returns to all investments, even if there is little information available about them. This encourages the investor to explore more investments in order to gather information and improve their estimates of the expected returns.

A third approach is the “UCB1” (Upper Confidence Bound) algorithm, which involves assigning a confidence interval to each investment based on the amount of information available about it. The investor then chooses the investment with the highest upper confidence bound, as this represents the investment with the highest expected return given the current level of information.

One of the key benefits of bandit based yield theory is that it allows investors to adapt to changing market conditions and adjust their investment strategies accordingly. For example, if an investor is using the explore-then-commit strategy and discovers that an investment has much lower returns than expected, they can adjust their strategy and explore other investments instead.

There are also a number of variations and extensions to bandit based yield theory that have been developed in order to address more complex situations. One example is the “multi-armed bandit with switching costs” model, which takes into account the fact that switching between investments can be costly in terms of time and resources. This model helps investors to determine when it is worth switching investments and when it is better to stick with what they have.

Another extension is the “stochastic multi-armed bandit” model, which deals with situations where the returns on investments are not fixed, but rather vary randomly over time. This model helps investors to determine the optimal investment strategy in such situations, taking into account the level of uncertainty and the expected returns.