An ordinary consumer can be extraordinarily unpredictable. She is a daughter, a wife, a mother and a career woman all rolled in one. Not only is she made up of a number of different people, she has different moods; and her needs and preferences are shaped by who she is and what mood she is in at the moment she is considering a purchase.
This unpredictability was highlighted some years back in a Nielsen report. While analysing consumer trends across the globe, the report described consumers as schizophrenic. Often the same consumer, depending on her state of mind, or on what is happening in her life at that moment, is buying products that one would place in diametrically opposite segments:
“I usually eat healthy but it has been a hard week and I want to treat myself.”
“If I'm just cooking for myself, I go for shortcuts or buy something ready to cook... but when I have friends over, I cook from scratch to make it special.”
“I try to eat fresh produce, but I also buy frozen vegetables for when I don't have time for the store.”
Health versus indulgence, value versus premium, fresh versus frozen, large versus small portion, do-it-yourself versus convenience, organic versus local — these conflicting influences reflected in the market trends seen across the globe, highlight the importance of studying consumers in the context in which their needs arise.
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Two-day art workshop on abstraction. Start with a stimulus such as a photo, transform it, add fresh meaning, thoughts and emotions, and ultimately create new interpretations.
Marketing has changed. More so in practical terms, and marketing education is lagging.
The fundamental change lies in the application of analytics and research. Every aspect of the marketing mix can be sensed, tracked and measured.
That does not mean that marketers need to become expert statisticians. We don't need to learn to develop marketing mix models or create perceptual maps. But we should be able to understand and interpret them.
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