Cat Person or Dog Person? The Usefulness of Marketing in Polarities

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Maybe the answer comes to you immediately, although it’s possible that you need to think about it for a second before responding. Either way, one thing’s for sure: The question seems perfectly acceptable. 

We’re used to talking about things in polarities: THIS or THAT? In many cases, it can simplify conversations and serve as a good kickoff to forging connections that are deeper and more meaningful.

Polarities can serve an important purpose in marketing, restricting thinking into narrow perimeters—even if the broader goal is to make the thoughts expand far beyond the original prompt. It’s approachable. It’s a starting point. It’s impossible to get wrong because it’s an equal-stakes juxtaposition with no real risk involved in choosing one way or another. Apples or Oranges? Skirts or Jeans? Introvert or Extrovert? 

The world is way too complex for any answers or insights to come out of polarities. Some people love cats and dogs equally—and some people are just not animal lovers (they’re officially wrong, though). And no one is so clueless as to think that your only fashion choices on this planet are EITHER a pair of jeans or a skirt. What about sweatpants? A ballgown? A bathing suit? A birthday suit??

The world is actually better because of nuance and diversity. But there is a purpose served by whittling down conversation and considerations to two easily-processed contrasts. We can eliminate the pressure to choose, the paradox of choice, and the idea of getting the answer wrong. And we can start getting to know each other a little better—which is never, ever a bad thing when it comes to building relationships with various audiences, customers, partners, and so forth. 

In marketing, polarities and dualities can steer people into useful decision-making frameworks. As we said before—this doesn’t mean that we think anyone should get stuck within the limits of just two choices! It’s often something like an “icebreaker” for deeper and more meaningful considerations. 

For example, if you see an ad for mattresses that says, “Early Riser or Night Owl?” that answer is not necessarily the one that’s going to help you decide which of many different mattress sizes, brands, and types are right for you. But it can get you thinking about your sleep patterns, your health, and what you’ve been meaning to change that you haven’t gotten around to. Maybe you’re an early riser by nature, but you’ve been hitting snooze a lot lately because of poor sleep habits. Would exploring new mattress options help out? It might. That’s not something an ad can answer for you. But it can facilitate the conversations that lead to making the right decision. 

And suffice it to say: Conversation, relationships, and finding solutions are some of the core elements of good marketing techniques.

So if you’re ready to figure out which “simple” 50/50 questions can get your target audience excited, interested, and invested—or just get them thinking and talking at all—then here’s one for you: Are you more of a phone or email person? Either way, we’re right on the other side ready to start the conversation with you. 


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