Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Down the rabbit hole

So I've been having way too much fun with my marketing assignment.  Lol that might be a first — and this is my *cough* fourth degree, so that’s saying something ;).  And no, it's prob not actually a first, but a rarity at least. 

So here’s the thing — it started with “create a persona” — which, let’s be honest, is just creative writing.  So I was moderately entertained doing that.  But then you need data to back up all the details of your persona.  

This is Sarah, my persona.  
Turns out Marketing papers can include pictures!

Now usually I hate finding sources.  I always write my paper first and then look for other people who’ve said roughly the same thing (let’s be honest, for better or for worse, you can find research to support pretty well any opinion you want).  And I pretty bitterly resent the fact that somebody else saying it legitimizes it, but me saying it isn’t good enough.  I am totally fine with it when they do actual work to prove it though.  lol - a lot of these are science-based research, in that case, I'm all for it. Proof for the win!   But when I was writing English papers and it was their opinion about a dead guy's writing vs mine...   Really?  Less interested.  Arguably if they already thought of it, it meant to me that my paper wasn't creative or interesting enough.  lol I had some interesting debates with my profs in uni.

Anyways -- I was somewhat confused why I was enjoying this one so much, until I realized it’s very similar to when I was writing and went down random rabbit holes to ensure the accuracy of some obscure, likely to be cut in the editing process, detail.

For instance — the first part of the persona needs to be “A day in the life”.  Cool, flash fiction 101 - no problem.  Had to keep it marginally reality based, my “semi-fictional” persona couldn’t stumble upon a magic coffee shop, or find an air-conditioned cape on a hot day, but other than making for a remarkably boring story it’s the same premise.   But then, anything that you’ve stated in the story, needs data to back it up.   AND data goes in footnotes, which means it doesn’t go against my word count, which means Win!

Lol so let’s see….  She wakes up, rolls over, and turns off her alarm on her phone.   Okay - well CRTC says 90% of Canadian’s have cell phones.  Win.  She gets up and dressed, and on her way down the stairs pounds on the doors of her daughter (age 14) and son (age 12).    Oh so much there — I had the average age a woman is when she has her first child (hint - in Canada it’s 28) and did the math to validate daughter’s age.   Average number of children.  Sleep cycles and circadian rhythms in teenagers and impact on their parents.

You get the idea.  So far my google hole searches have found such things as:

  • Sleep patterns in adolescents 
  • Most popular Canadian sports for boys
  • Top selling luxury vehicles
  • Motivations for participation in equestrian sports
  • Use of internet in higher-income households
  • Commuting within Canada’s largest cities
  • Commensal eating patterns (this was to justify my persona having lunch w a girlfriend to vent about work/family/etc)
  • Eating out - how often and why
  • “Fertility — Fewer children, older moms” - seriously, that's what the stats can article was called
  • Average number of pets in households where at least one person rides (in Ontario it’s 1.8 dogs and 2.5 cats.  I’m not even kidding - I found the stat for that.  Well, as of 2010 anyways ;)
  • Body Image Distortion in women
  • Productive laziness?!?!   This sounded like it would be awesome.  It was not.  And arguably more applicable to my ops paper than my marketing one.
  • Physical and mental impact on working mothers
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Impact of exercise on stress
  • Impact of animals on stress levels
  • Equine Assisted Therapy

Admittedly the sources I need to have in the next section of the paper are the far more traditional text-book marketing theory type references, but this section was all kinds of entertaining.   Also my max 3000 word paper is currently sitting at nearly 6000 words - but thanks to the magic of footnotes, I only really have to cut about 400 of them ;).  And, well, 10% margin, so really, 100 of them.  That's not even a challenge (to put in perspective, I cut nearly 800 words from my first draft of my ops paper).   But that game is for tomorrow Lauren to play.


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