Mass Affluence: Seven New Rules of Marketing to Today's Consumerby Paul F. Nunes, Brian Johnson
Forget mass customization and microsegmentation. Winning in today's business world requires a return to an approach abandoned by marketing experts decades ago. Mass marketing is back, say Paul Nunes and Brian Johnsonbut with a new target and a fresh approach that companies ignore at their peril. Whereas the mass marketing concepts of the 1950s consisted of
Forget mass customization and microsegmentation. Winning in today's business world requires a return to an approach abandoned by marketing experts decades ago. Mass marketing is back, say Paul Nunes and Brian Johnsonbut with a new target and a fresh approach that companies ignore at their peril. Whereas the mass marketing concepts of the 1950s consisted of lowest common denominator strategies aimed at the "middle class," Nunes and Johnson argue that the rules of mass marketing must be rewritten to appeal to today's burgeoning mass of differentand far more affluentconsumers. The "moneyed masses" have more disposable income than ever, and research shows the richest among them are not spending up to their potentialthus creating a windfall of opportunity for marketers. Based on extensive consumer research, Mass Affluence outlines seven new rules for capturing this largely ignored market and reveals how innovative companies are already employing them to launch billion-dollar industries in categories from oral care to homebuilding to exotic automobiles. A sea change in marketing is underwayand future growth and profitability will belong to the companies that woo and win today's affluent mass market.
The Globe & Mail
Based on extensive consumer research and practical application within many industries, Mass Affluence outlines seven new rules of mass marketing aimed directly at what Nunes and Johnson call the "moneyed masses." Throughout, the authors illustrate how innovative companies are already successfully implementing these strategies - not with traditional "luxury" goods, but with high-end products that fill an often ignored middle ground in ordinary categories from household cleaning to apparel to oral care.
Exploring the marketing implications of this phenomenon for the first time, the authors reveal how organizations can capture the latent value in a powerful - and largely untapped - market.
The New Mass Market
While most companies have been busy trying to build one-on-one relationships with their customers, a number of businesses have been making startling amounts of money from offerings that don't "know" their individual buyers very well at all. These products and services are based on the interpretation of widely held needs and are not particularly concerned with their buyers' specific characteristics. In short, they are mass-market offerings.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) has come back strong in the early 2000s from recent problems largely on the strength of a few new products. The company's July 2003 earnings report cited three examples of mass-market innovations instrumental in its return to success:
- Crest-branded whitening products, including Whitestrips and NightEffects, which helped grow a $50 million niche business in tooth whitening into a $750 million industry in just two years, with P&G grabbing 60 percent of that market.
- Swiffer mop, which pioneered the $900 million global surface-cleaning-system category, a category that virtually didn't exist as recently as 1997, and of which P&G now owns 60 percent.
- Olay skin care products, including Regenerist, a product that captured nearly a 10th of the facial moisturizer market in its first three months, and which, combined with Total Effects, gave P&G a 12-share gain in the category in a single year.
New Offerings With Mass Appeal
The phenomenon of producing successful new offerings with mass appeal is not limited to consumer products. Purchase categories from housing to restaurants to clothing retailers to lifestyle purveyors have all seen their fortunes grow over the years by serving millions of diverse consumers with essentially the same product. New mass-market categories are emerging as well; they're poised to grow quickly and their range includes everything from car sharing to shared personal chefs.
The companies that are meeting with success have altered their strategies to serve today's mass market - a market very different from the one that inspired the first mass-marketing movement. These companies understand that the principles of mass marketing as they knew them no longer apply. They know this because they recognize three major changes that dramatically affect the way in which today's customer must be courted.
Three Major Changes in Spending
First, today's consumers, en masse, are far more affluent in terms of wealth and income than their predecessors. This is particularly true for a certain segment of upper-income, but not extravagantly rich, households.
Second, consumer spending patterns have changed, despite the increase in affluence. One change is a drastic reduction in per-dollar-of-income spending in the households that have the most. This pullback represents a tremendous challenge for marketers, but also an unprecedented opportunity for those with the right offerings.
Finally, consumers now want more options for spending their growing affluence, beyond traditional luxury offerings. In many cases, offerings perceived as lavish or luxury goods are being rejected outright. Affluent spending is no longer synonymous with luxury spending, and while some companies may achieve a measure of immediate success by shifting to a luxury-goods mentality, that success is unlikely to be broad based or long-lived.
The mass market has changed and continues to change; the rules of marketing must also change if they are to successfully capture today's mass market. Copyright © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
- Harvard Business Review Press
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- 6.42(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Paul Nunes is an Executive Research Fellow at Accenture's Institute for High Performance Business in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Brian Johnson is a senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., an investment research and management firm in New York City.
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