With great power comes great responsibility. Thanks to emerging media, marketers now have the power (i.e. ability) to reach consumers in ways we never thought possible. However, just because companies have the ability to communicate with so many consumers through multitudes of media platforms, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily should. When it comes to profitability and potential sales revenue, not all consumers are created equal, and marketing to everyone the same way is just a waste of time, money and resources.
Because not all buyers are alike, marketers have to create ways to place buyers into cohesive groups that differ from one another based on specific wants and needs. This is known as market segmentation. Marketers use segmentation to focus on subgroups of the total population because they are expected to be more receptive to marketing campaigns than the population in general.
It’s no wonder companies want to tap in to the power of market segmentation. Just consider the buying power of the fastest growing ethnic markets in the US:
- African-Americans’ buying power has increased from $316.3 billion in 1990 to $946.6 billion in 2010 and is projected to climb to $1.3 trillion in 2017.
- Hispanic buying power is worth $1 trillion now and is expected to grow another 50 percent to $1.5 trillion in the next five years
There is a lot of money to be spent, and consumers want to spend it on companies that make them feel valued. Navigating these waters can be a bit tricky, however, especially when it comes to communicating across cultural barriers. Even more difficult still is reaching across the gender gap.
With their purchasing power and influence, women drive an estimated 70-80% of consumer spending; and roughly 75% of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their households. However, nearly half of women surveyed say marketers misunderstand them. Unsure of the most effective way to market to women, many marketers adopt a strategy of gender washing, which has two defining characteristics: First, a failure to acknowledge women’s distinct needs, and/or second, a belief that marketing to women simply means offering the “shrink it and pink it ” version of men’s products. Example: Bic for Her.
As companies steer clear of gender washing, they can utilize emerging media to effectively communicate with women:
- The average 15+ female spends 8 percent more time online than her male counterpart.
- According to comScore Plan Metrix, nearly 56 percent of adult women say they use the Internet to stay in touch with people, compared to 46 percent of adult men.
- Retail is also a key site category for women, and they spend 20 percent more time on retail sites overall than men
- Women text 30 percent more overall than men.
- 44% of moms own a smart phone and they are giving them a good workout. Top uses include: looking up store locations and hours (61%), keeping family schedule, (49%) and work schedule (37%), and texting family and friends while shopping to get their input on clothing decisions, (49%)
- In May 2011, 69% of women were users of social networking sites, compared with 60% of men.
- Women are also more active in their use of these sites, with more than half of female internet users using social networking sites on a typical day (54%), compared with 42% of male internet users
- Globally, women spent an average of 16.3 percent of their online time on social networks in April 2010, compared to 11.7 percent for the men
With women making most of the household purchasing decisions, and spending more time communicating through technology, using emerging media to reach this market segment just seems like a no-brainer.