Would you sell long-term-healthcare insurance to a college student or place ads to sell body piercings to people living in-home care situations? Who you are selling to is a simple idea within your marketing strategy. A key factor to success in today's market place is finding subtle differences to give your business the successful marketing edge. You want to sell your product or service in an appropriate way to different segments of the population or only to those in your niche, those who share experiences, values and goals. You could segment them based on demographics, like their date of birth, income and occupation; or through psychographic life-stage segments, like young families, empty-nesters or careerists.
A third successful marketing strategy is to segment each group of people you want to target into a cohort of people in the same age group. These people are more likely to have had similar experiences during their formative years, ranging from late adolescence to early adulthood (from around 17 to 23). The experiences they share in common are called defining moments and these moments influence attitudes, preferences, values and buying behaviors. Their behavior from their formative years tends to stay with the group throughout their entire lives. Factors are usually tied to particular dates as well, such as those based on such events as the end of World War II, the Kennedy assassination and Bart Simpson (Generation X).
Businesses using a successful target strategy looking at segments will promote their products and services more effectively than businesses aiming at the "average" customer. The primary objective of a successful marketing strategy, therefore, must be how to win and retain the customers you want to serve. An excellent marketing strategy is to combines both the demographic and psychographic information with cohort segmentation to learn who to target and how.
We are going to look at a few different cohort marketing segments, but we are not going to go into either demographics or psychographics at this time. As a business person you will need to do much more research to develop your own successful marketing strategy.
World War II Group
World War II group members were born between 1928 and 1946 and made up 23% of the US adult population in 2009. This group had their coming-of-age events during the 1950s of the I Love Lucy Show, the Andy Griffith Show and Father Knows Best. They enjoyed long periods of social tranquility and only hints of the bomb, bomb shelters and the Cold War. The times were conservative and conformist. People valued comfort, familiarity and security.
Baby Boomers One and Two
There are now two cohort market segments consisting of Baby Boomers, with different outlooks based on their experiences coming of age. Baby Boomer Ones, who made up 17% of the adult US population, have dominated marketing since they first appeared. Some of the products associated with them are hula hoops, Coke, McDonalds and Clearasil. Their big life-defining moment occurred when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, thus ending the status quo of the Post WWII market segment and thrusting many of Boomers into political activism. Individualism became key. They ask questions and expect marketing to provide more information to prove their claims. A successful marketing strategy for this cohort segment is primarily online because they gather information at many websites before making a decision to use a service or make a purchase.
The second market segment of Baby Boomers, also called “Trailing Edge” Boomers makes up 26% of the population (that’s over a fourth). They were shaped by the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate and the Arab oil embargo. They experienced an economic roller coaster and high inflation. They were encouraged to go into debt to maintain their lifestyle. A major finance company ran a marketing strategy campaign telling the late boomers that everyone else has the great stuff and they aren’t any better than the consumer. You can see this in the high end car ads today.
Generation X and N-Gens
Generation X is a market segment some marketers call “a generation of aging Bart Simpsons.” Consisting of about 22% of the population, they are classified as being alienated and resigned to the world offering them a bleak future. You can see this in the many of the current crop of futuristic and zombie movies. They are followed by the N-Gens, who are hopeful about the future (also as seen in the same movies). This is the group that came of age as the computer and internet became popular. They are sometimes included in the Millennial Group, which is sometimes segmented like the Boomers.
Millennials consist of the market segment who learned how to become good team players and obedient, pro-social achievers. They see themselves as capable, valued and willing to work for the good of the group. This group had a desire to grow up and make a difference in the world, and the confidence that their efforts would make a difference. A 2013 news report put their numbers at 80 million strong, consisting of 18-32 year olds, the largest generation in American history.
These are all different market segments of people with different kinds of buying habits. If you are aware of which market segment you are targeting, you will create a successful marketing strategy. In it you will take into account that the people to whom you are marketing want more information before making up their minds, like the Baby Boomer Ones or they feel entitled to the best like Baby Boomer Twos.
Do you know which market segment you are marketing to and what successful marketing strategy you are using to reach each differently? Please tell us in the comment box below because everyone sharing is greater than any single contribution.
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.