In this article, Partner and Strategist at The Strategy Department, Lara Cassel, looks at how the focus on LSMs may be killing our marketing thinking.
In the marketing industry we mainly rely on the LSM measurement. From our target market definitions, to our market potential, all the way to our media placement, but is this the best way to look at our customers? In an ever increasing population, evolving mindsets as well as the aspirations of our diverse country, we need to pause and ask ourselves if looking at what appliances people have in their houses is a sufficient way to judge their potential affiliation with your brand. Let’s look at two women, both giving birth. When a child is born, the mother’s hope and dreams for that child are vivid. She wants a better future for that child, to see the child grow and develop. And she will do anything to make that child’s life as perfect as possible. Is that dream dictated by whether they have a fridge or not? People will argue that their affordability is different, and yes it is, but their mindsets are the same. If we look at the townships, why do you see tin shacks with DSTV dishes on them? Some aren’t even connected to anything, but yet, it is about the perception of the other residents. The biggest challenge for marketers is the lack of empirical data beyond just the LSM measures. If your business or client is looking for statistical analysis, then this is one of your only choices, but are we ready to push the boundaries a little bit. Archetyping (defined as: creating a very typical example of a group of people) is the latesttrend in the industry. By developing these, we can transcend race or creed and rather digs into the customer emotional mind-set and drivers
- Why do they do what they do?
- What type of life do they want?
- And most importantly, how does your brand fit into that lifestyle?
With the absence of empirical data, these are developed from years of understanding consumer mindsets, digging below the surface of each layer of customers to find rather what brings them together rather than what divides them. At the end of the day, we are all wanting to talk to the hearts and minds of our customers, and surely one of the main things we need to understand is their mindset, their approach to purchasing, their deeper needs and desires. Ask yourself what is the difference between a Hyundai driver and a BMW driver? The features they are looking for are very similar, and both the cars provide that, so what is it that will make someone in LSM 10 buy a Hyundai and a person in LSM 8 by a BMW? It’s the customer’s mindsets and what they are looking for. While there is still definitely space for LSM measures to understand the size and affordability of a specific market, I believe LSM measures have made us lazy. Pre-defined groups faceless people, but that can give us empirical data back up allowing us to justify our targeting. As marketers, we need to dig deeper and stop surface skipping with our customers, but rather deep dive into their psyche to understand who they really are, beyond their microwave status. Lara Cassel The Strategy Department, your in-house outsource solution for all your strategic marketing needs.
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