The 4 Ps; mosaic profiling; lifestyle segmentation; targeting; focus; niches; market share – they’re all part of the received wisdom associated with marketing and largely unchallenged. We are taught that marketing is about understanding what consumers need; then developing products, brands and marketing messages which will allow our business to be both attractive to the said consumers and do so in ways which look different and somehow better than our potential competitors.
The best way, we are told, to do this is to narrow our focus – to select categories of consumer of whom to appeal. Because of the sheer complexity or size of ‘the market’ or to allow a limited appeal to be relevant to particular consumers, we must narrow our sights. By aligning our product or marketing message to what we understand our target group want, we surely have the best chance of them buying what we offer.
However, by limiting our appeal to specific categories of purchaser, we limit the numbers of customers we try to attract. Whilst apparently giving ourselves the best chance of pleasing some people, we restrict the number of people we try to please. How can that make sense?
Whenever we generalise about categories or groups of consumers, we run the risk of all such generalisations: of thinking we know how they all behave or think. This can apply as much to those we exclude from our focus as those we include. If we are honest, most of us instinctively or deliberately discriminate in favour of some and against other social groups. This restricts our inclination and ability to reach consumers whose business we should be valuing.
So how about a different model, in which we maximise the number of people we try to please? By thinking from the outset about those people who are not top of our analytical radar and what they may need from our sort of business, we can please these and surely still suit the original targets.
Inclusive Design – all-encompassing marketing
Inclusive Design is an alternative model of marketing, in which the very design of products, premises or services takes account of the needs of those those with less ability, agility, strength or senses but with means, so that they can be included in our sales potential.
How many mainstream marketing strategies actively include, for example, retired people as a key segment? Yet nationally the age cohorts with the most wealth to spend are the 55-64 and 65-74 year olds. In Eastbourne’s catchment area, for instance, the over-60s represent almost 30% of all residents and who knows what proportion of visitors. Many of these are not only affluent but active and independent, with tastes and desires for all the same good things of life that they have enjoyed in younger years.
Designing what you offer in ways that appeal to anyone with the means to buy makes economic and business sense as well as social – those happy grandparents will pass on the word to younger generations whilst enjoying the benefits of buying what they want – from you.
PRG are proud supporters of Eastbourne Designed for All
Written by guest blogger Tom Serpell, Founder & Director of Eastbourne Designed for All.