HORSHAM, Pa., May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- "Contextual marketing is the key that picks the consumer's lock."
That's how Bill Melnick, Director Of Strategic Planning for leading shopper marketing agency SAI Marketing describes the challenges facing consumer packaged goods brands that were built on the concept of mass marketing. They now find a fragmented marketplace where shoppers have been fractured into four different shopper types each facing their own unique context. As SAI reveals in the latest edition of its Consumption Context Index™ (CCI), education and consequently income have divided the country into segments with varying degrees of viability as consumers of branded CPG products that carry a premium above private label.
Using econometric inputs – including economic, political, social and cultural – to benchmark and track the context in which consumers are considering, comparing and committing to brands, the CCI enables SAI to identify long-cycle shifts in consumer outlook and behaviors. Through its research, SAI has identified four distinct consumer segments based on education, employment, viability and household status. The groups take into account both the consumer's current situation and earning potential. With its latest report, SAI reveals what the impact of the underlying structural changes in the economy mean for each segment in terms of price sensitivity, brand selection, private label receptivity, channel selection and trip mission.
In explaining the urgency of speaking to shoppers through the lens of their context, Melnick -- who led iconic branding efforts at CNBC, Vanity Fair, and Merrill Lynch -- points to the stubbornly high unemployment rates among those with lesser education accomplishments and thus diminished prospects for the future in an economy geared increasingly towards rewarding those with advanced skill sets. What economists call structural unemployment has impacted the identified segments in uneven ways.
In A Tale of Two Economies, Marketing across the Divide, which is scheduled for publication this week, SAI examines the importance of "Contextual Marketing", meaning the need to take into account the individual context of shoppers' lives, in developing brand strategy and messaging. By identifying the consumer marketplace as essentially two marketplaces, each divided into two segments, SAI has identified the need for mass CPG brands to move beyond the conventional strategy of profiling the ideal customer and then developing a campaign that speaks to this theoretical consumer. This approach fails to address the lifestyle and contextual issues that shape customer behavior today. To maintain the viability of mass brands, marketers need to identify needs that are universal and values that span the continuum of the four segments identified by building a flexible relevance platform that will stitch the segments into a whole.
As identified in A Tale of Two Economies, the segments are as follows from most advantaged to least:
Specific recommendations for incorporating these insights as to how each of these segments approaches product purchase decisions into CPG marketing strategies, as well as a more in-depth exploration of the CCI findings and implications, can be found in the full Tale of Two Economies report, now available for downloading at www.saimarketing.com by clicking on the Insights tab.
"The post-recession world has permanently changed the attitudes and characteristics of the American consumer, says Melnick. "Marketers need to construct a flexible brand architecture that will enable them to reach and engage consumers across the spectrum."
ABOUT SAI MARKETING
SAI MARKETING INC., located in Horsham, PA, is a full service shopper marketing agency with over 40 years experience in providing national CPG brands with proprietary insights, marketing strategies and marketing communications campaigns that move the consumer along the path to purchase by bridging the gap between the high level brand positioning message and the transaction in the retail channel. Clients include Blue Diamond Almonds, Sutter Home Wines, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the American Egg Board, ACH Foods and Rubbermaid.
SOURCE SAI Marketing, Inc.