Friday, September 01, 2006

Watch Your Behavior

For ages marketers have segmented consumers by age, education, geography, income and gender, or any combination of these descriptors and several other similar segments. More recently, these have been further parsed with psychographics, which segment individuals by beliefs and biases. Today, I advise clients to research and segment consumers by buying behaviors instead, as the other established segmentation methods are increasingly antiquated.

Aging but active boomers, formerly self-involved Gen Xers pushing strollers, computer-savvy grandmas, stay-at-home Dads and other so-called 'anomolies' are blurring long-held views of what defines a generation or gender. Combined with the power consumers have to gather and share information about brands and products, no traditional demographic component is particularly useful in product development or messaging.

Whether retail or business to business, buying decisions follow discrete, established processes of collecting and evaluating information that are far better barometers of what messages and media are most effective.

Reaching out and responding to consumers is most effective as a reflection of common behaviors, not birthdays.

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