A 50 year-old man arrives at the car lot in a minivan. Is he there for a new minivan? Or is he in the market for a little, red sports car? Ditto for a 50 year old woman. And really the question is how do you get them to come to your car lot in the first place? Did someone say 50 is the new 30, which makes 30 the new 10? All of which probably says advertising for the 30 year-olds should be aimed at 50 year olds and 10 year-olds. Such confusion.
These thoughts were prompted by the recent uproar over consumer segmentation. Someone proclaimed consumer segmentation dead. Others disagreed. And really should anyone out there proclaim anything dead anymore? Did video really kill the radio star? Or just caused radio to reinvent itself? Don’t radio stars do video too?
Consumer segmentation could be dead or it could be reinventing itself. Segmenting consumers according to age, income, zip-code and a propensity toward plastic surgery had been a popular strategy in marketing circles. But now the rules are changing. In this world where a 50 year-old could be a new parent or an empty nester, age doesn’t predict buying behavior.
A consumer is more of an attitude said some of the debaters. The man with the tattoos on a Harley could also be a devoted dad and a pastor. Isn’t outside-the-box the new normal? Who among us argues for being a face in the crowd, with age-appropriate tastes and inclinations? Geeks dance. Rocket scientists can be shallow – or not.
Consumers are now in charge, claims one debating segment – as if they weren’t before. There are social media and other game changers. Consumers are self-selecting. The online book seller recommends titles in a kinder and gentler tone – Others who bought this ski waxing book also bought, waxing poetic, home waxing guide for men and car waxing enthusiast. And so it goes. We envision this debate continuing and 50 year-olds buying toys – of all kinds.