An interesting article in the Telegraph caught my eye yesterday. Half of all Muslim men and three quarters of all Muslim women in Britain are unemployed.
That’s a jaw dropping statistic.
Except it doesn’t have anything to do with religion. (At least in the case of the men. The women are a more complex case. Read on.)
In this case, the survey clearly asked a whole host of questions including age, ethnicity, religion, gender, marital status, location, etc.
Then you pick one answer (Muslim) and look at what shows up in the rest of the answers for this arbitrarily chosen grouping.
These results aren’t religious, they’re demographic.
Over the last ten years, Britain’s Muslim population has increased dramatically due to changes in net migration ratios: Specifically, a big jump in migrants from Pakistan and parts of Muslim Africa. Nothing out of the ordinary here. This is broadly on trend for the rest of Europe as well. (I’m not going to go into the merits of different immigration policy because the report deals with only people who are already here and it’s not on message for this post. Plus it’s always a hot button and this is the internet. The last thing it needs is more people who will never meet arguing over something they can never change.)
So, what do we know about migrants with non-English speaking backgrounds?
- Statistically more likely to be unemployed for obvious operational reasons.
- Statistically more likely to have larger families (which removes women from the work force for longer).
- Statistically more likely to be employed in seasonal work or the black economy. (Just ask my cleaner.)
- And, crucially, statistically more likely to identify with a particular religious or cultural group -a natural response to being in a new cultural setting. This can give the appearance of over-representation when compared to other ethnicities (white European) that are less likely to identify as “Catholic” or “Jedi”. Migrants are simply more likely to check that box and thus skew the results.
Of course, once you get to first and second generation migrants, you start to see something very different. People with Indian or Chinese heritage are now twice as likely to find employment in the Professions than white Brits. Which completely nullifies the idea that there is an inherent “unemployability” in a particular racial or religious group. (It also says something about modern Anglo British culture, but I’m not sure what because I have only been here for 2.3 years. My guess would be changes in the degrees white Brits now find desirable combined with a sharp increase in the number of skilled migrant visas required to fill positions with permanent negative unemployment. Britain’s health service simply wouldn’t function without its foreign doctors and nurses.)
It’s very easy to draw correlations within a data set that imply causality. We do this all the time and it has implications for
- How we assess our situations.
- What magical actions we choose to take in those situations.
Demographic analysis broadens our previous discussions regarding magical target practice.
You would typically follow those steps if your objective was something that you either couldn’t know at the outset (ethically cast love spell) or if its fulfillment was well and truly out of your hands (solving Colony Collapse Disorder).
But there are quite a few instances where spell casting more closely resembles a media campaign. In particular, those that involve you or have a fixed outcome that you can define at the beginning.
When you are media planning, before you even set objectives, you
- Assess your current situation.
- Assess your resources.
- Assess the competitive landscape and look for advantages or barriers.
- Most importantly, you build a demographic analysis of your audience.
And it’s the last one that really helps in magic.
- What’s your location?
- What’s your age?
- What’s your gender?
- What do you look like?
What are the barriers and opportunities here? If you are the target then honesty is important. Are you still a bit too fat to get to get the amount of sex you want? (Me: yes.) Are you too old to marry Cyrus from Weeds? (Me: yes. There are probably one or two other complications there as well.)
Get a detailed understanding of your audience -which is you in most cases- before you go off firing or the whole thing will be pointless -even if the spell works. Spending a million dollars on an AdWords campaign won’t help if you are getting the wrong kind of clicks to your website.
Who do you expect to buy your new detergent? The first answer is usually “everyone” obviously, because then you make more money. But it’s not the best answer based on demographics or campaign budgets. If you want Latina housewives to buy your detergent then why are you booking TV spots during Monster Trucks?
This is a demographic error. Don’t make one in your spell casting.
Why I like shoaling is that it forces you to think in terms of phased enchantments. You don’t just light a candle, wish for a husband and think your job is done. Because, seriously, anyone can get a husband. If you don’t balk at the idea of conjugal visits then start writing some letters.
In media -particularly digital media- you start a campaign and then you optimize it on an ongoing basis.
Here’s a personal example. While working in New Zealand, I was running a multi-million dollar campaign for Tourism Australia (not this one or this one) with the objective of encouraging more kiwis to visit the country. As part of the campaign, they were running a competition for a family to win an Australian holiday.
The ad copy for the competition was “Win A Trip on The Indian Pacific.” Entries were substantially lower than anticipated and at the rate of sign-up we weren’t going to hit our target.
Well, because no one in New Zealand knew what the Indian Pacific was. For the record, it is one of the great train journeys of the world, travelling from the east to the west coast, across the Nullarbor Plain. If the ads were running in Australia there would be no problem. So we changed the copy mid-campaign to “Win A Luxury Train Journey Across Australia”.
Boom. We hit the target the next day and got to move some of the campaign budget into other areas.
Phased enchantments let you optimize toward your objective. In the above example, the overall goal remained the same but a demographic understanding (kiwis don’t know the Indian Pacific) led to a change in strategy (tell them what it is) which achieved the goal.
This potentially also has implications for spell wordings but I will leave you to think that one out.