Anywhere Consumers

Discussion
Oct 08, 2008

By Tom Ryan

Yankee Group has identified a new breed of consumers that “prize connectivity at all times” to help tech and media brands better understand their buying habits. A survey of 4,000 consumers revealed five segments of “Anywhere Consumers,” from the most wireless-obsessed, “Actualized Anywheres,” to the least, “Analogs.”

At the top, “Actualized Anywheres” skew between ages 18-44, are more racially diverse than other segments, and have a higher average household income ($95,000) than the other groups. Although Actualized Anywheres only make up about five percent of the population, Yankee Group senior analyst Joshua Martin told MediaPost that ‘”their opinions of products and services have huge ramifications on mass-market adoption of technologies and products, which can propel or obstruct carriers, manufacturers, service providers and retailers.”

The second group, “Outlet Jockeys” (15 percent of the population; $85,000 HHI) is particularly interested in cutting-edge mobile technology, and won’t just “make do” with one sub par, multipurpose device.

“Despite owning multifunction handsets, this group continues to bring other portable devices such as laptops, digital cameras and MP3 players with them,” Mr. Martin said, “furthering the notion that one device will not replace best-of-breed alternatives.”

The third, “Digital Shut-ins” (20 percent of the population; $80,000 HHI) owns numerous advanced entertainment devices like HDTVs, but do not subscribe to the services (like HD digital cable) that fully leverage their potential. Connectivity outside the home is not a major priority.

Among the least tech-savvy, “Technophytes” (22 percent of the population/$65,000 HHI) want to be considered cutting-edge but are often following trends from early adopters. But Mr. Martin said these consumers “assure that there is mass market sustainability for advanced devices beyond the early adopters.”

The fifth segment, “Analogs” (40 percent of the population; $50,000 HHI) are not particularly interested in new media or technology and are very price sensitive. The segment is much older than the previous four, with less than 25 percent between the ages of 18 and 44. On the positive side, Mr. Martin said that there’s an opportunity for media and tech marketers to reach Analogs if they portray new devices and services as an easier way to do current activities like staying in touch with family, or watching their favorite movies.

The segmentations, according to Mr. Martin, make it easier for tech brands to figure out how to best use the web to reach their targets. Actualized Anywheres and Outlet Jockeys, for example, are more willing to try mobile purchasing. Digital Shut-ins can be engaged through traditional online means like display ads and email. But Technophytes and Analogs are best approached through more traditional offline methods.

Discussion Questions: Given the many factors involved in customer behavior profiling, where would you rank wireless connectivity? Are non-tech brands doing enough to understand their customer’s wireless tendencies?

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11 Comments on "Anywhere Consumers"


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Phil Rubin
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Phil Rubin
13 years 7 months ago

Understanding wireless connectivity is not only essential for tech brands, but it is increasingly significant for non-tech brands as well.

At the essence of customer relationships is brand connectivity, which in the darker ages was purely product and advertising-driven and is increasingly relationship marketing-driven. Beyond online and email, virtual addressability and understanding which customers are staying connected through new media like Twitter (i.e., as opposed to email) is a must if you are to maintain brand-customer connections beyond traditional (including Web 1.0) media.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
13 years 7 months ago

I don’t want to over-emphasize it, but I actually agree that propensity for wireless connectivity is going to be a really important basis for segmentation. The more connected a consumer is, the more chances a brand has to reach a customer–the more touch points there are to influence a buying decision or shape a buying process.

As to the other part of the question, are retailers doing enough? I just got back from speaking at a workshop on multi-channel and the answer is–with a few notable exceptions–a resounding no. Brands WANT to do more, and they have some ideas on what they might like to do, but at least at this workshop, there is still a big gap between intention and action when it comes to doing more with wireless–whether through mobile phones or through retailer-provided devices.

Anne Howe
Guest
13 years 7 months ago

I agree with Nikki–not enough is being done to correlate the model to shopping behavior. In our Shopper’s Journey(SM) model, which segments all shopper activity from the origin of the want or need to the homecoming, we can apply consumer or shopper activity/use of all technology and map specific usage to stages along the journey.

Those who want to invest in research should consider mapping to a robust model, in order to have the output be actionable, and help them determine where on the path their target consumer segments or shopper segments are engaged. This helps map what kind of messaging activity marketers should engage in to be relevant to the “points of decision” for specific categories of product.

Marketers today are skittish to invest in some of this more “long view” research, but brave brands will step forward and start to uncover some clear opportunities.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
13 years 7 months ago

If you don’t get on the wagon, you are going to miss the parade.

If you want to get to and sell to the Analogs however, you are going to have to make it easier than programing your DVD.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
13 years 7 months ago

More work needs to be done to determine whether these groups also have similar attitudes toward products, brands, and promotion. While the groups are distinct and identifiable, unless they respond differently to products, brands, and promotion they are not usable target markets. It is very possible that these groups are different, but unless they also respond differently to products, brands, and promotions they may not be useful for marketing.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
13 years 7 months ago

There is no question there is market segment that must be in touch at all times. These are mostly Type A individuals that have a connectivity obsession, even if it is not justified. They are early adopters of anything that supports this habit.

This is a very difficult segment to keep up with. It requires almost constant communication, which is expensive. While the general population will catch up to this group in 5 to 10 years, they will arrive for other reasons. At this point in time, the segment is small, but could be a good learning platform for the future.

Sid Raisch
Guest
Sid Raisch
13 years 7 months ago

Wireless technology is here and capable of doing more than we are using it for. Some accelerated learning is in order. I’ve challenged my clients by inviting them to LinkedIn. This is helping them get their feet wet. The automatic network updates pull them in deeper and it’s all gaining some traction.

The next step will be to figure out how to benefit from the social media, but it really isn’t all that different from the old-fashioned models of networking that were new in the 80s. It’s just moving to the Internet very rapidly. The next step is email optimized for wireless devices.

Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 7 months ago

Customer segmentation doesn’t mean anything to most retailers. Most retailers want to appeal to the broadest audience possible. What’s really peculiar is how poor so many conventional web sites are. If the regular web site is dysfunctional, what are the chances for a great mobile shopping site?

Gary Edwards, PhD
Guest
Gary Edwards, PhD
13 years 7 months ago

Regardless of whether a brand is tech-based or not, being able to increase loyalty and overall customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal. Understanding the behaviors, attitudes and preferences of the customer is critical to achieving this goal–and the fact is that more and more consumers are using technology for much more than work-related tasks. From using mobile phones to download and redeem coupons, to browsing store Websites via their SmartPhone, to providing feedback to retailers via Blackberry, wireless devices are becoming indispensable for many consumers.

For retailers, wireless channels are an increasing method of reaching customers. Progressive organizations are taking full advantage of the consumer’s penchant for wireless devices, using the medium to seek feedback, communicate personalized offers and promotions, and building long-lasting and personal relationships.

In short, if businesses aren’t leveraging the wireless, always-connected world, and communicating with the “Actualized Anywhere” crowd, they’re missing out.

mary humphrey
Guest
mary humphrey
13 years 7 months ago
I see a lot of companies working hard to understand mobile connectivity. I agree that if you don’t “get on the bus” you’ll miss it. However, it will require a great deal of behavioral (more than attitudinal) research. I see the same pattern repeated time after time: only a small percentage of the functionality offered by technology programs is used frequently. Sure the conversion or relevance of the more targeted features is much higher but it’s generally a very expensive way to reach a small audience. The key is to understand the mainstream use and work from there to understand how it does or doesn’t work with your product or brand. I also believe that it will be a challenging learning curve for many marketers/sellers. Let me give you an example: I met some friends for dinner in a hip part of town on a street with 30 or more restaurants. We had to find a place to eat and I wound up watching my younger colleagues spend more than 15 minutes surfing their mobile… Read more »
Carlos Arámbula
Guest
13 years 7 months ago

Non-tech brands are a bit behind the curve but the ones that recognize the need for connectivity are reaping the benefits. Consumer purchase behavior, specifically brand research by the consumer, has changed drastically.

Any brand that wants the consumer to take it seriously needs to address the consumer with the appropriate level and type of online communications. In other words, brand development needs to play a larger role in online communications.

It is not a complicated process, consumers use tech and non-tech products alike, so product affinities will reveal tendencies.

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