The economy and market place are changing rapidly. The growth of the Internet are making consumers more demanding than ever. As a result, marketers have begun to identify a class of people that is quickly being defined as the “Accumulator Class.” This group is one of two major trends in marketing that this article will focus on and it has has the following unique characteristics:
* Typically, they are in their mid 30s to early 50s.
* They are one of the top income generating groups. They are affluent or are optimistic in their ability to be affluent and want to leverage their time towards that objective.
* They are at the point in their careers where earning income for their families and future are among their greatest goals.
* They have come to realize that the leveraging of their time is the most important thing they can do to increase their wealth. Therefore, unlike earlier generations that would be inclined to do it themselves, this group realizes it makes more sense to pay someone else to do it (whatever “it” is). They tend to center their lives around convenience and are very demanding.
* This group takes control over as much of their time as possible. No longer do they read stale weeklies with yesterday’s news or agree to meet Brian Williams or even Katie Couric at a specific time for information. Many go to the web and tie a few video or audio programs into their own, customized, news broadcast (or podcast). In fact, the average viewer of nightly news is 60 years old. This group is still comfortable with being where its told to be to get the information they want, but they are of little interest to most marketers.
* If you are interested in reaching this group of Accumulators, you are going to have to design your marketing towards meeting the specific demands of these drivers.
A second major trend after recognizing the accumulators is the rise of educational marketing. In many respects, this is the corollary to the first point. People have grown impatient with advertising and will usually only trade their time for information. Currently, radio stations are trying to persuade listeners to stay with so-called free radio rather than paying for it. Currently, approximately 10 million Americans, most in the demanding Accumulator Class, have made the shift to XM or Sirius. They are willing to pay not to hear advertising. So how are advertisers reaching a reluctant audience? The following are a few examples:
* They are sponsoring shows and putting their name on it, like the old days.
* They are requiring the audience to look at advertising before they can get their information. Apparently, busy consumers are willing to make a trade off, since recent data has shown that the fastest growing way for getting news is through on-demand resources.
* Increasingly, businesses are buying air time in order to convey information, rather than merely doing an infomercial. Many of the radio and TV shows you now see are far more sophisticated than their infomercial ancestors. They know that people will not watch a 30 minute commercial any more than a 30 second one.
* These same sources take a multi-informational approach. They provide free newsletters, have programs on TV and/or radio, and virtually always have a website.
* Virtually every business is developing innovative ways to use educational marketing and find it essential to their future success.
In sum, highly sophisticated consumers are forcing advertisers to give them what they want, the way they want it, and when they want it. These individuals drive the new marketing environment. The only businesses that will thrive are those who develop a marketing plan that acknowledges such.