Times Have Changed, Have Your Customers?
For most of the last century, certain rules applied to advertising. If you wanted to sell cleaning products, you targeted women. Trucks were for men only. And clowns were obviously the best way to convince kids to crave hamburgers. So much has changed since the early days of advertising. Maybe our perceptions of who’s buying what should also change.
A recent Associated Press article says that more parents are now leaving their children at home while shopping for back to school supplies. That means the dinosaurs and cartoons on the crayon box may matter less than the price tag. The trend clearly traces its roots to two very precious commodities for today’s parents – time and money. In many households, both parents work. In many households there’s only one parent. School supply budgets and time limits can often be better kept if impressionable and impulsive kids are left at home. Despite the many Americans who will still see back-to-school shopping as an enjoyable ritual, this trend could shift the way some products used by children are marketed.
This brings up a great point about the face of the American consumer – they are always changing. The demographic profile you’re targeting may be the eventual end user of the product, but there may have been changes in who buys that product and why.
Value: Front and Center
Remember the big “upgrade” trend of pre-recession marketers? It’s been replaced by the “I got a great deal” trend. Brands like Target and Southwest Airlines have always been playful with their value-centric pitches, but now those attributes are front and center in most marketing efforts. I was on a business trip last week with our CEO who pointed out huge “Free Bags Fly Here” letters with an arrow pointing to the cargo hatch of a Southwest airplane.
The point is, consumers change. Those changes can be propelled by economic, social and political influences. The who, where, what, why, and when of purchasing decisions can shift in seemingly shorter spans. Have your consumers changed? How? Are you sure? These are all good questions to think about as we head back to school and back to work.
Louis David, Account Executive