The 8 global consumer types and how to reach them

Increasing sales whilst tightening budgetary expenditure seems paradoxical, but it can be achieved by focussing marketing efforts on your key audiences.

Traditionally, consumers were categorised by demographics, skewing representation of their habits and lifestyle; however, marketers are now releasing that consumer habits and preferences are the most important factors influencing purchasing behaviour.

Evaluating personal attitudes (i.e. media consumption, buying behaviour, individual aspirations); Euromonitor International identified 8 global consumer types in a 2018 study:

 

Identifying key audience/s, their shopping motivators, major personal influences, habits, and purchase decision drivers when evaluating product innovation, sales and the marketing will enable retailers to maximise sales on a low budget.

Source: Euromonitor International

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Satisfaction is not enough – How to build emotional customer connections

Today companies face ever increasing global competition, whilst striving for continuously growing profits and market share. Most firms focus on achieving high customer satisfaction at every stage of the customer journey. But satisfaction is not enough!

A recent study published by the Harvard Business Review suggests that customers with an emotional connection to a brand are 52% more valuable than highly satisfied ones.

They purchase more and more often, are less price sensitive, pay closer attention to promotional material, follow advice and actively promote the brand.

But how can a brand build emotional connections with their customers?

A brand has to understand their customers’ deep and often unspoken needs and link these motivators to specific purchasing behaviour to evaluate which desires are most profitable.

 

Source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, “The New Science of Customer Emotions” 

 

Emotional connections may differ between industries, categories and customer segments and may even shift in a segment depending on where a customer is in their customer journey.

Each brand needs to identify a specific set of needs that motivate their key customers and drive sales:

  1. Examine how the top quartile of your customer base or your most successful location differ from others
  2. Search for the key motivators of these connected customers
  3. Quantify the impact of different motivators on purchasing, spending, loyalty, and advocacy
  4. Gain a deeper understanding of connected customers through online surveys
  5. Evaluate motivators separate from your brand (reasons for brand choices do not always match key motivators)
  6. Develop informed strategy and optimise investments to turn highly satisfied customers into emotionally connected ones
  7. Make emotional connection a key objective not just in the marketing department but across the firm
  8. Regularly review customers’ emotional connection levels, as well as the correlation of customers’ emotional connection scores with lifetime value measures, such as annual spending, churn and tenure to adjust the strategy

A retail case study has shown that the implementation of an informed strategy led first year sales of new stores to exceed past averages by 20%, leading to shorter breakeven times and higher returns on capital. Sales grew by 3.5% in comparison with the annual average of just 1%, whilst inventory turnover increased more than 25%. Market share and customer advocacy also grew, contributing to record-high customer lifetime values.

The retailer had identified the need for a sense of belonging, a sense of thrill and a sense of freedom as key motivators. The brand redesigned their stores and implemented a social media campaign were customers could share their favourite outfits to satisfy their customers deepest desires.

 

Sounds daunting?

Actually, some of the world’s leading brands mistakenly believe that being considered a “good brand” by a large percentage of customers will secure long-term success. However, the blue bar in the following graphic demonstrates how many customers these brand failed to build an emotional connection with.

 

Source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, “The New Science of Customer Emotions” 

 

This emotional connection gap represents an enormous opportunity for all brands to transform satisfied customers into emotionally connected and more valuable ones.

Source: The New Science of Customer Emotions

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Aged Care – A Critical Analysis

We have seen an exponential increase in the number of elderly in proportion to the total population over the past decades. However, people aged 65 and over are not as healthy in old age as projected considering our prosperity, according to recent findings of an international study done by BDO in cooperation with the OECD.

Additionally, elderly and healthcare costs are continuously increasing especially due to an international increase in comorbidity (two or more illnesses are present in the same person simultaneously) among those aged 65 and over, placing a heavy social and economic burden on future generations.

Average medical expenses for a person aged 85 and over amount to over AUD$79,200 per year (BDO); an alarming amount considering that this group is expected to exceed 25% by 2050 worldwide.

Furthermore, due to high educational requirements, the demand for health care professionals far outstrips the supply. What’s more is, many lower-skilled health care professionals were made redundant in the last years, due to unnecessarily high requirements.

Analysing national differences in their approach to aged care revealed extraordinary insights in BDO’s recent international study.

Even though all examined countries were faced with tremendous demographic challenges, the study found that not only differences in health care models and funding seemed to impact the health of the elderly, but lifestyle and habits too. In Norway, for example, people are healthier for a significantly longer period of time due to an outdoor lifestyle, a ‘culture of caring’, with families taking care of each other and the elderly taking an active and meaningful part in society

Furthermore, smokers made up only 4% of the population, whereas in Germany, where elderly (on average) only have 8 healthy years over 65, 20% of the population smoked.

A different approach to evaluating return on investment (ROI) in the Netherlands is showing positive results. The country seeks to shift their focus away from the disabilities of patients and further towards their abilities.

BDO concluded that current healthcare systems focus on curing the sick rather than preventing sickness and does not deal with the root of the problem.

To achieve a more affordable, more effective and sustainable aged care system we need to:

  1. focus on innovation, prevention and rehabilitation;
  2. target funding to boost innovation;
  3. lower educational barriers for health care professionals;
  4. develop technical innovations;
  5. encourage and support big-scale lifestyle changes;
  6. invest in methods, solutions and processes that ensure people age differently;
  7. seeking greater dialogue with the elderly to identify areas of improvement;
  8. evaluate ROI;
  9. acknowledge lack of difference between private and public healthcare systems; and
  10. give the elderly a place and purpose in our society.

Source: https://www.bdo.com.au/en-au/insights/healthcare/publications/new-perspectives-on-elderly-care

Market Research + Economic Trends

To successfully operate a business and grow profits, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the economic opportunities and, equally, threats. Market research provides decision makers with strategic, high quality, objective and comprehensive insights, ensuring long-term, sustainable growth for business.

The economic landscape offers great financial opportunities, as foreign investment fosters local growth on one hand and labour costs, exchange and interest rates and increase competitiveness on the other.

Global economic growth supports Australian economy

The Australian Economy has just completed its 26th year of continuous growth, setting an international record. Australia’s economic future looks promising, while growth has accelerated in around 75% of Australia’s major trading partners. Favourable conditions, such as low interest rates, a relatively weaker Australian Dollar and low unit labour costs, boost Australian competitiveness. This means that expanding manufacturing and service sectors ultimately support domestic financial markets.

Only US trade restrictions, tensions with North Korea and Iran, as well as rising global government debt could potentially cause growth disruptions.

Guaranteed Growth – commodity headwinds support economy growth

The acceleration in economic growth in 50% of countries worldwide (IMF) translates into increased infrastructure spending and consequently fuelling demand for more Australian commodities. This growing demand is strong enough to offset against a slowing Chinese demand, safeguarding the national economy.

A booming Indian population combined with urbanisation and the “Made in India” campaign seeks to grow India’s manufacturing base, fuelling the need for more infrastructure. Furthermore, China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative is estimated to be one of the largest infrastructure projects in history (TIME) while Trump’s US$1 trillion infrastructure program will significantly contribute to commodity demand and set an end to the downturn.

Additionally, LNG contract agreements has commenced multi-year infrastructure projects (0.5% of GDP) and Asian economic and demographic momentum is pushing Australian tourism and education demand upwards (0.5 – 0.75% of GDP), all looking to boost Australian economic growth.

Tightening labour markets and weak wages keep inflation under 2%

Possible growth in wages, as a result of a positive economic outlook, might bring inflation closer to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) 2-3% target. However there still are very few upward pressures on wages or prices. The government’s focus on budget repairs makes tax cuts or welfare increases appear highly unlikely, meaning that an increase in household spending could only come from either wages growth or an increase in small to medium enterprise (SME) profits.

However, Australia is currently experiencing the lowest wages growth on record (only 2% p.a.), a reality of a highly competitive product and labour market.

RBA Governor Dr. Philipp Lowe expressed his hope for a “pickup in wages” and declared it would be “a good thing if workers asked for a pay rise”. Australia could miss the next wave of global economic growth if consumer spending does not increase.

Households – macroeconomic risk?

Weak income growth, decreasing consumer spending and high levels of household debt are posing a serious financial risk to the Australian economy.

It is not just the fact that the average household debt has increased, but more households have debt and carry it for longer. Increasing living costs combined with weak income growth and job security concerns are creating delicate environment sensitive to interest rate fluctuations. This evokes exaggerated consumer responses to economic news. However, it should be noted that unemployment, interest rates and mortgage rates are decreasing and the labour market is picking up. This means at least in the short-term, nothing will trigger any major financial risk factors. If companies recognise the booming economic headwinds in the future and offer their employees higher wages, consumer spending will increase and the Australian economy will once again prosper.

Does your business strategy incorporate opportunities related to economic growth?

Knowledge is power, and market research provides your organisation with business intelligence tailored to your needs and reduces risky decisions on strategic direction

Source: Euromonitor International

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Market Research + Political Risk

Many factors influence businesses but few pose as great a risk as political risk. Understanding and forecasting the political landscape and its risks should be an essential part of every business’ operations. Market Research enables management and decision makers to make informed decisions, identify opportunities and, importantly, mitigate risks.

Staying informed on political risk factors influencing and impacting your company is very time consuming. Market research streamlines this process by providing your business with insights tailored to your needs.

As political agendas are driven by market forces and informed by market research themselves, market research will give companies the most accurate and robust future prognosis.

This is an overview of major political trends, likely to affect a range of different industries.

In 2017, a number of issues have fractured the Australian political landscape, but not limited to: citizenship scandals; energy and climate crises; the continuous asylum seeker debate; increasing conflicts between moderates and conservatives; and the list goes on. These have weakened not only, the Labor Party but also the coalition and have ultimately affected the security of Malcom Turnbull’s leadership.

Energy and climate

The hope of a “lasting energy framework” after Alan Finkel’s investigation into the security and reliability of the electricity market was disappointing. Finkel’s “Blueprint for the Future”, outlined an action plan to repair the Australian electricity market by introducing a Clean Energy Target, to conform to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This was starkly opposed by coal advocates and argued that 42% of renewable energy by 2030 was too ambitious and would put service reliability at risk. The Greens also criticised the Blueprint as a “short-term political fix”.

The government now supports the new proposal of a National Energy Guarantee (NEG), proposed by the Energy Security Board. The NEG recommends a reliability guarantee and an emissions guarantee.

The new proposal has already been criticised for renewables’ incentives being revoked and for the lack of penalties for corporate non-compliance. The details of this plan will be released in April 2018. It remains to be seen if the new proposal will withstand the challenges from different interest groups.

Asylum seekers

The decommissioning of offshore detention centres on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and Nauru, as well as the forceful removal of the remaining asylum seekers has provoked global condemnation and affected our relationships with the rest of the world. However, the offshore asylum seeker processing topic remained one of few where the coalition was united under Turnbull.

Liberals’ ideological issues

The global phenomenon of a continuous split in the political right is very tangible in Australia. With Tony Abbot seeking to position himself as the new voice of a Liberal conservative Australia, in direct challenge to Turnbull’s leadership.

Tumultuous leadership

Last year was marked by an increasingly rebellious Coalition, with backbenchers openly defying Turnbull’s authority. An example of this breakdown saw Senator Bernadi openly defecting from the Liberals and establishing his own, the Australian Conservative Party.

With growing pressure from his own ranks, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation inspired the Nationals to publicly challenge the Turnbull government, forcing a Royal Commission into the banking sector against the Prime Minister’s will.

Things got a little heated when Turnbull recently and openly critiqued former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce for his relationship with a former employee. The following resignation by Joyce might just place more strain on a fragile Coalition relationship.

The Australian Labor Party

Whilst Labor’s strategy of “sit[ting} back and watch[ing] the Coalition self-implode” saw the party in front of the Coalition in two-party polls, Bill Shorten still personally ranked behind the Prime Minister in a two-party preferred polls.

Section 44 – “The Citizenship Debacle”

2017 saw a record number of parliamentary resignations owing to a new interpretation of Section 44, which raised questions over constitutional ineligibility of parliamentary membership due to citizenship requirements. The High Court found five MPs constitutionally ineligible, followed by two members of the government’s ministry, the Senate President and finally two cross-bench Senators. This issue of eligibility is largely unresolved, as additional referrals to the High Court have already been lodged and will roll into 2018.

Aboriginal matters

Parliamentary eligibility issues will continue to dominate Aboriginal recognition matters. The rejection of the establishment of a First Nation’s Voice, recommended by the Referendum Council, was appointed to advise on meaningful recognition of First Nation peoples on civil rights grounds.  Any progress on the recognition issue is unlikely, as no goodwill remains between stakeholder groups and the government.

Same sex marriage

In 2017 Australia became the 26th country to legalise same sex marriage, following a 61.6% vote in favour. The postal survey was conducted despite harsh critique on the plebiscite strategy, for its non-binding nature, exclusion of oversea voters, security concerns, the constitutional eligibility of the ABS to conduct a plebiscite and the government’s justification to spend AUD$122 million of taxpayer money to conduct it. Despite the overwhelming vote in favour, the matter still seems unresolved, as the balance of marriage equality and religious protection remains highly debatable.

Risk Management and Market Research

Considering the volatility of the past year, the political future seems hard to predict. Major new policies seem unlikely in the near future, though past issues seem likely to continue well into 2018.

When seeking to establish an effective risk management plan, success is highly dependent upon the identifying relevant risk factors. Market research can identify firm- and country-specific risks and distinguish between instability and/or government risk, helping you determine relevant threats effectively.

This is particularly important, as the nature of risk varies from firm to firm and is dependent on different exposures. As companies are rarely able to influence country-specific risk or even governmental risk factors, such as subtle policy changes, these can pose a great threat to businesses. Hence, it is of utmost importance to identify and effectively manage these risks. Market research can provide those insights needed to make relevant risk mitigation and management decisions, so that operations and financial performance can be better safeguarded going in to the future.

Sources: Committee for Economic Development of AustraliaInternational Risk Management InstituteStable Research.

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