Face It: Consumers Are Changing. Are You?

August 12, 2008 - 10:45

I recently read an article in Advertising Age magazine about the changing face of today’s consumer.

According to this article, that face currently has a few more wrinkles on it, and smart growers and retailers in our industry had better have a plan on how to deal with tomorrow’s consumers because they won’t look like today’s consumers.

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau says that the average age for an American head of household is now 491?2 years. The good thing about this demographic is that these older consumers have more money and are willing to spend it; however, many of them are spending that money on services rather than goods.

Even though they have the money to spend, many of them are still price-conscious and risk-averse consumers. They are willing to spend their money; they just have different expectations when they spend it, compared to younger consumers. They are looking for experience, guarantees and safety when it comes to their purchases.

To reach into the wallets of these consumers, Advertising Age says companies should use more testimonials from happy customers, create prominent displays of the company’s history and prove to customers that they’ve been around awhile and are financially stable. If you do this, consumers will feel like they are making an educated decision and will be more willing to spend their hard-earned money.

A Younger Face

The challenge for this industry is to take care of the aging boomers with their readily available cash while priming the online, younger and wireless consumer of tomorrow. They may not have money today, but they must be groomed today to be the next generation of plant buyers.

These younger consumers are not as product or brand loyal as their parents. In fact, their product and brand preferences can and will differ greatly depending on a wide variety of influences, including geographic location, ethnic background, education level, political beliefs…the list goes on.

The author of the Advertising Age article suggested that businesses rethink their strategies when it comes to target marketing to reach younger consumers. He recommends delving deeper into the target demographic by putting more emphasis on ethnographic research to find out more about the culture, beliefs, media preference and other activities of the target consumer. He says you must embrace the cultures and voices of this younger generation if you want to be the current and future choice of that generation. By doing this and creating a “buzz” today, it will help your products become the first choice of that next generation.

So as the face of today’s consumer continues to change, ask yourself, “What am I doing today that will help me reach the next generation of consumers?” But don’t forget to take care of today’s customer.

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