Published in Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 13, 2006
RATHER than complain about shifting consumer preferences and economic downturns as most traditional manufacturers and retailers are wont to do, their shrewd counterpart behave otherwise and focus on the Customer. With a marketing-oriented approach, manufacturers and retailers donâ€™t just allow consumers to dictate the trend while they follow along with a multitude of like-minded competitors. Instead, retailers and manufacturers with foresight help shape the trend by knowing and understanding the customerâ€™s unmet needs and being first to address these latent needs.
Basic to understanding the customer is to know who and which customer to focus on. Concentrating on a primary market provides the manufacturer and retailer the best way to optimize his resources and understand the customerâ€™s deepest motivations, needs and aspirations.
Ten customer markets top the list in year 2006 whose needs have yet to be fully attended to. These markets are:
The indulgent Women. The new genre of females have new-found pocket power. Employed or otherwise, women by nature are resourceful in looking for ways to augment their familyâ€™s income or indulge their personal and kidsâ€™ needs. In many cases, women have become the familyâ€™s breadwinner. A 2004 worldwide survey reveals that one out of every four married women have income far greater than their husbands.
Women exhibit far greater consumptive behavior than men. They are most likely to indulge themselves, their kids or family. With higher disposable income, they buy more reputable brands. With more financial power, their purchases extend to big-ticket items like cars or homes.
The favored teens and tweens. Teens, 13 to 19 years old and tweens, 8 to 12 years old are favored recipients of their indulgent mothers new financial power. They are their momâ€™s brightest spots and are strong influencers in their motherâ€™s purchases, either for themselves, for their moms or the rest of the family.
The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Christened, the unsung heroes, their hard toil in a foreign land away from their families have kept the local economy afloat, no mater a local or foreign crisis that besets the nation. The OFWs lifeblood is simply their family.
Young professional urban singles, YUPPIES or YOCOs (young cosmopolitans). Marriage takes a backseat to these YOCOs. Career opportunities, single-blessedness freedom, extensive travels overseas are but some of the major reasons that keep them happy staying â€œurban singleâ€. They are high-comfort seekers and are partial to digital lifestyles and convenience driven products and services.
HOBO and SOHO micro-entrepreneurs â€“ Home-office, business-office (HOBO) and small-office, home-office (SOHO) micro-entrepreneurs hold offices in their own homes. They move around, patronize business centers, coffee shops and business process outsourcing. Once part of the corporate world, they have left the mainstream workforce to start new careers and businesses on their own. Many are consultants engaged in various business disciplines. Silent, astute workers, their clients include a whoâ€™s who of new genre challengers to dominant, established brands. HOBO and SOHO micro-entrepreneurs are perfect targets for digital and mobile technology including all
types of portable office machines and digital assistants. Digital technology addresses their productivity and communication needs.
Stay at home husbands or Mr. Mums. More and more men are becoming involved in parenting and housekeeping chores like house cleaning, marketing and cooking. Their involvement in what was traditionally an all-female turf has slightly changed buying influences and decision-making in some homes and perhaps, some household categories. Men are rational, purposive, loyal brand buyers. They are rareshifters and go for reputable brands. They rely on word of mouth endorsements from family and friends. Nonetheless, insightful information on packaging labels may yet encourage them to try a new brand.
Male metrosexuals. Judging by the number of cosmetic, hair care and skin care new product entrants, indeed male personal care products have come a long way in fueling the growth of the personal care category. This phenomenon was earlier established in an ACNielsen Global 2004 report that reveals that the male population has boosted sales of personal care products specially in body cleansing and deodorants.
The baby boomers. The most populous generation is also the most vain. Aged 40 to 60 years old, this demographic segment is preoccupied with staying healthy and younger longer. They have come to terms with aging but strongly believe that todayâ€™s modern science can help delay if not mitigate aging. Baby boomers are suckers for health and wellness lifestyles and products, invasive and non-invasive surgeries.
Empty nester or silver-haired citizens. As modern science discovers ways to prolong life and as the population over sixty years old soars, new categories serving the market are expected to grow. Categories that have yet to be tapped locally include senior citizen shopping center, edu-travel, continuous learning and self-enrichment programs, silver fashion, etc.
Muslim racial community. Muslim communities have a stronghold of at least five percent of the general population. While local manufacturers and retailers have yet to seriously address the needs of this group; globally, marketers across different categories from ultra-chic fashion brands to personal care to technology brands are racing to address the needs of Muslims, presenting this group with products and services suited to their culture, tradition and lifestyle.