I was speaking in Manhattan at an industry event, and had a chance to observe a different city up close for a few hours walking around. It reminded me how important it is to marketers to see how their customers really live.
I stayed with a friend, and got to see a Manhattan apartment up close. This one was lovely and much larger than average at about 750 square feet. In fact, apartments in New York City are likely to get smaller, according to planners. There is currently a law requiring new apartments to be at least 400 square feet in size.
It's not just New York that has this challenge -- some other urban areas do, too, such as San Francisco.
Curation of space
Objects in a personal space like this must be carefully curated, and they are. This is not Costco and Walmart country by any means. Not because of the prices, but because of the size and quantity of stuff. You just don't need or want a lot of stuff in a small space.
People who choose to live in this kind of density think differently about how they spend personal time than people who live in a sprawling place in the suburbs. They value their location highly, or they wouldn't pay the price to live there.
It's just a completely different mindset, and one you really need to understand if you want to gain access to one of the world's biggest markets.
By the same reasoning, if you are a marketer who lives in a small apartment in Manhattan, you'd do well to remind yourself that life in Springville is very different. And it's different in ways that might surprise.
And really, there's no substitute for actually observing these things up close. I was just learning all this on a virtual drive-by, not a deep dive. Imagine what we would learn if we really set out to explore a topic like this.
When we assume that others are "just like us", we are usually wrong.