Is mindset marketing now the best way to reach new customers?

Is mindset marketing now the best way to reach new customers?

When we think of segmenting an audience for marketing purposes, many of us start with demographics. Depending on our product or service offering, we might split our customers into groups based on age, gender, region, ethnic background, educational level and – of course – household income.

However, this way of looking at customers is being challenged by a relatively new concept sometimes referred to as 'mindset marketing.'

The problem with demographics

Demographics has served us well ever since marketing began. In the early days, when gender roles were very fixed, careers locked in from an early age and media platforms limited, the net of demographic-based marketing was fine enough to catch most fish.

For example, if you were a big company selling household cleaning products you would use TV advertising and market exclusively to women in their homes.

Little by little those demographic certainties have been eroded. Women and men are now almost equally likely to be the main bread-winner or to share that role.

Then, from the 90s onwards, the spread of the internet has exposed people of all ages to information and entertainment from all over the world. We now mainly access content from mobile devices and use social media to share our knowledge, experiences and interests. The TV has become less prominent in the home, superseded by on-demand viewing and YouTube videos.

More recently, the 'gig economy' has thrown another variable into the mix. Rather than sticking to one career for life, men and women are switching between jobs and running side hustles as Uber drivers. Retirees are no longer only to be found at home by the fire, reading the newspaper. They are just as likely to be delivering parcels with Yodel or offering design services on Fiverr.

Are we getting to a stage where the rulebook needs to be torn up completely

There have always been exceptions to the demographic rule of course but are we getting to a stage where the rulebook needs to be torn up completely? And if so, what can we use to guide our marketing campaigns now?

United by shared experiences

With mindset marketing, the focus is on those experiences and sentiments we all share at certain times, regardless of our age, social class and geographical location. This includes personal life events (marriage, childbirth, job promotion, etc.) and shared events (public holidays, weekends, back to school, summer holidays, etc.)

Take a job promotion. Whatever demographic is involved, a promotion normally leads not only to an increase in salary but to a surge of motivation. Wanting to impress in their new role, newly promoted employees are more likely to be open to purchase new business tools and services. They might also be interested in upgrading their car to reflect their new status.

In short, there is a narrow window of opportunity which optimised B2B and B2C marketers can take advantage of to increase their profits.

Another example would be the mindset many of us get into when Christmas shopping. Businesses which focus their marketing and services on meeting our need for speed and convenience (fast delivery, free gift wrapping, etc.) can gain an edge.

Examples of consumer mindsets:

  • Sociable. People who are at social occasions are likely to be on their mobiles and using social media so marketing via these channels is smart. They are likely to be in the market for products and services that help them connect and share (an Instagram ad with the message: 'buy a pizza and get one free for your bff!' might work well).
  • Secure. People are usually in the secure mindset when they are grocery shopping. They are looking to save money and get a good deal. However, that mindset can be very 'aisle-specific' as the next examples explain:
  • Knowledgeable. When in the wine aisle, some consumers will switch from the secure to the knowledgeable mindset. They want to be seen as connoisseurs and will be more likely to engage with content that will enable that (an article entitled '10 rules for fine wine and food pairings' might be popular).
  • Conscientious. Research has found that consumers are most likely to be in the conscientious mindset when looking for personal care products. In this aisle, shoppers may well be more influenced by cruelty-free campaigns.

Is it time to switch to mindset marketing?

Traditional demographics are still very useful. You are still more likely to sell a Bentley to someone in the ABC1 social group than in the C2DE group so ditching demographics altogether would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

However, thanks to Facebook and the like, there is now a lot more information available about people's personal life events, beliefs and opinions. Using this type of data to incorporate mindset marketing into your mix will add more strings to your bow and help you to get the best of both worlds.

Topic: Online marketing

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