Knowledgable consumers


Consumers today are more are more prosperous, better educated and have better access to information. Marketers will have to think beyond their normal scope of attracting consumers towards their products. For most people life has become safer by way of better sanitation, hygienic food and public health has reduced the number of deaths from contagious diseases. Better engineering and stricter safety standards have improved travel conditions.

There is a vicious cycle at work. Consumers want more information so that they can control risks and media oblige with amplified and dramatized stories of accidents, disasters, health scares, crimes, security and financial scares making the people more uneasy.

For marketers the challenge is when to ride consumers’ anxieties and when to soothe them. The more media consumers have, the more anxious they feel.

In 2nd half of twentieth century life in most of the world ran a well charted course of clearly defined stages. Now people are spending more time in education, marrying and have children later (and fewer of them). More are starting new careers in 30s or 40s or beyond seeking new challenges. Every stage people are now believing getting older does not mean acting older and slowing down.

All this is happening where there is growing prosperity, education and growth opportunities. The reason is simple. People who earn money are educated to think for they tend to challenge conventional thinking and make independent decisions.

This development makes it unwise to assume for marketers that everyone of a certain age will be doing and thinking the same thing. The upside is that many new valuable niches are opening up for marketers willing to do their homework.

A terrible irony of modern world is that while millions of people are trying desperately to get enough to eat and face illness or death from malnourishment there are millions of others who are trying just as desperately to eat less and face illness or death from over eating. That is how you find the dieticians advising the affluent with diet charts. The gyms with all sorts of equipments for body toning and an in house dietician and advisor are thriving on advising people how to be fit and trim.

Considering the above marketers must be alert enough to introduce food supplements or exercise equipments to cater to this affluent segment of society. Their terminology and differentiation must look genuine for the consumer so that the products are used with customer confidence.

As science focuses more on the relationship between diet and disease educated consumers are turning their attention to organic food, fresh food, food that’s grown locally, food that is rich in health promoting substances such as antioxidants.

It is tough call for marketers because most profitable food lines have tended to be the most highly processed and least healthy. But as prosperity and awareness increase consumers and public authorities are looking for foods that combine immediate sensual pleasure with long term benefits.