This article is about unique customers and their needs whose requirements are a few times more than a conventional customer. This indicates how the marketers must be alert on meeting those needs to generate substantial volumes of business.
The population in any society falls into five educational groups: illiterates, high school dropouts, high school diplomas, college degrees, and professional degrees. In Japan, 99 percent of the population is literate, whereas in the United States 10 to 15 percent of the population may be functionally illiterate. However, the United States has one of the worldâ€™s highest percentages of college educated citizens, around 36 percent. The high number of educated people in the United States spells a high demand for quality books, magazines and travel, and a high supply of skills.
Brand Name Universities:
The higher levels of educational attainment in the United States have led to both an increased emphasis on marketing to college students and the increased marketing of colleges and universities as definable brands. Heightened competition for the top students and concerns about institutionsâ€™ reputation and ranking are prompting these institutions to create a brand image. No one disputes the strength of the â€œHarvardâ€ name as a symbol of educational excellence and preeminence. Bottom line pressures due to tuition discounting and comparative shopping by prospective students and their parents are encouraging lesser-known colleges to take a market oriented approach. Georgia Tech defines itself as the â€œTwenty-first-century Technology Universityâ€ by focusing on its quality programs, cutting edge research, and aggressive technology transfer. Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, emphasizes its size (Clark is among the smallest of the major research universities), its history as an innovator and a student body comprised of individuals who are obsessed with their own areas of interest.
The traditional household consists of a husband, wife, and children (and sometimes grandparents). Yet in the United States today, one out of eight households is â€œdiverseâ€ or Nontraditionalâ€ and includes single live-alones, adult live together of one or both sexes, single parent families, childless married couples, and empty nesters. More people are divorcing or separating, choosing not to marry, marrying later, or marrying without the intention to have children. Each group has a distinctive set of needs and buying habits. For example, people in the SSWD group (single separated, widowed, divorced) need smaller apartments; inexpensive and smaller appliances, furniture, and furnishings; and smaller size food packages. Marketers must increasingly meet the special needs of nontraditional households, because they are growing more rapidly than traditional households.
Married couple households â€“ the domain cohort since the formation of the United States â€“ have slipped from nearly 80 percent in the 1950s to around 50 percent today. Americans are delaying marriage longer than ever, cohabiting in greater numbers, forming more same sex partnership, living far longer, and remarrying less after splitting up. By 2010, nearly 30 percent of homes will be inhabited by someone who lives alone. A record number of children 33 percent are now born to single parents, many of them underemployed mothers. But singles can also have much buying power and spend more on themselves than those who live in lager households. Products such as the George Foreman grill that target people who live alone and value convenience can be successful.
A study by Cava Research Group at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom emphasizes that single doesnâ€™t necessarily mean â€˜aloneâ€™. Researchers interviewed hundreds of people between the ages of 25and 60 and concluded that â€˜friends are the new familyâ€™. They observed a growing trend for â€˜neo-tribesâ€™ of 20-somethings to live communally. At the other end of the spectrum, older divorced people were seen centering their lives on their children and friends and keeping their romantic lives separate. The emphasis on friendship can influence marketers in everything from whom they target to how they craft their marketing messages. Travel with fiends or with a group, for instance, now appeals to a wider swath of singles than college students on spring break or seniors going off to an elder hostel. Online services are recognizing this trend.
Founded in Sunnyvale, California in 2003, Friend star connects people for dating, making friends, business propositions and plain old online voyeurism. The founder of Friend star created it after trying an online dating service and finding that he was not â€˜keen on messaging random weirdoes. The premise of Friend star is thatâ€™s better to connect to new people through people you already know. Itâ€™s the old friend of a friend of a friend strategy for meeting and dating. Users can browse through the profiles of their friends, friendsâ€™ friends, and so on in their network. With just 20 friends, a user can be linked to 50,000 or more people. The profiles include photos, favorite books, and other interests, along with pictures of their friends on the network. When users find some one interesting, they can see how they are connected and write a note. Itâ€™s like being the star of your own game of â€œSix Degrees of Separationâ€ â€“ the notion that anyone can be linked to anyone else in the world via six connections. The site which is free to members, has about 7 million users and has spawned a number of knock-off social networking sites such as Tribe, Rise and Googleâ€™s Orkut.
The gay market is particularly lucrative segment. Academics and marketing experts estimate that the gay and lesbian population ranges between 4 to 8 percent of the total US population, with an even higher percentage in urban areas. Compared to the average American, respondents who classify themselves as gay are over 10 times more likely to be in professional jobs and almost twice as likely to own a vacation home, eight times more likely to own a computer notebook and twice as likely to own individual stocks. Companies such as Absolut, American Express, IKEA, Procter& Gamble, and Subaru have recognized the potential of this market and the nontraditional household market as a whole.