We throw a lot of information out to you each month in this publication – much of it marketing related. Looking through past issues lately I have seen pieces we’ve done that have explained how important the youth market is….then another on how vital capturing the baby boom market is….then yet another on how to focus on aging consumers, and so on.
While all this is true, it must have many of you wondering which way is up with regard to your marketing/promotional efforts. Based on the constant research we are a part of, one thing is certain – finding out what’s really on consumers’ minds is becoming more and more difficult.
This clearly suggests a much greater role today for point-of-sale research. While there is plenty of software available that helps handle the gathering of this important information, nothing can ever replace brief face-to-face conversations with your customers. While many of you might exclaim, “We’re already doing that – and have been for years,” it’s what you do with that information that matters most.
“When retailers chat with their customers the conversations often reveal much about how many in a particular demographic feel about a given product or service,” began Martha Refik, a Connecticut-based retail analyst. “The problem is those conversations too often become fleeting moments and that data is never really properly mined.”
This type of feedback from your customers – both new and old – can provide invaluable insights into overall attitudes and the reasons for product/service acceptance or rejection. While this next thought certainly isn’t a “news flash” every retailer has a far better chance to overcome a customer’s objections if they know more about the real reasons behind those objections.
And today, more so than ever before, one objection does not fit all, so it’s important to realize it’s not prudent to change the way you are handling something because a few of your younger customers have complained about it. Simply make sure you communicate, in your marketing material and with your in-store pitches, that each individual “can have it their way.” I know a certain fast food chain that had a great deal of success with that philosophy.
In relation to all this, be sure to check out this month’s Stat Shot on page 16, as we have gathered some great information from the U.S. Census Bureau on the changing face of the U.S. population. The charts and graphs provide a very telling snapshot of how segmented the country has gotten with regards to age and where a lot of the money is today. For instance, did you know that households headed by people 35-54 are the nation’s biggest-spending households (I know I didn’t and I’m one of them – minus the money though), generally with double incomes and lots of children. However, they are also the nation’s slowest growing segment, something to consider as well.
Embracing and speaking to the many different voices this country is home to today requires a bit more of your attention. Simply holding a “sale” on something is just a speck of dust in a gale of wind.