December 23, 2020

The Great Depression

Loads of folks wrote in regarding my earlier message about my friend Mark’s nana reusing disposable paper towels.

These generous contributors all recounted stories of a grandparent who lived through The Great Depression and exhibited the same sort of behavior with paper towels, plastic drinking straws, or some other disposable item.

I got the impression from many of these messages that the writer was trying to justify to me why their grandparent’s behavior “made sense”.

I appreciate this effort, but I fear that the bigger point of the message might be getting lost.

The point isn’t for me to understand why someone would reuse paper towels.

The point is to recognize that a stimulus that someone experienced decades earlier can continue to influence their behavior.

It doesn’t matter that the stimulus is long gone... the behavior remains because the memory persists.

And the justification for the now “irrational” behavior is the story of the experience.

Here’s the thing...

(Well, really two things)

  1. The more you know about the shared experiences of your target market, the more valuable you can be to them. They’re not stupid, they’re not crazy, they’re not irrational. They just see things differently than you do.

  2. You probably didn’t live through The Great Depression, but you certainly have formative experiences. It might be helpful to determine what they are, and examine whether they are helping you or holding you back.