KINGSTON, R.I. — December 18, 2003 — Vast consumer choice, instant access to all types of information, and global competition make it impossible for companies to rely on traditional demographic data in designing and distributing their products and services.
“Demographics provide hard data, such as how many prospective customers a company might have, but those numbers don’t tell you how they behave,” said Edward M. Mazze, dean of the University of Rhode Island College of Business and the Alfred J. Verrecchia-Hasbro Inc. Leadership Chair in Business. “Behavior analysis is now critical.”
Because research shows that most companies do not segment their markets by lifestyle, Mazze joined two colleagues, Robert D. Michman and Alan J. Greco, in co-authoring the book, Lifestyle Marketing, Reaching the New American Consumer.
The book is designed to help marketers understand how to reach customers, particularly children, singles, teen-agers, “tweens,” college students, seniors and Americans from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“All of these different segments are viewed in terms of lifestyles,” Mazze said. “This is micro-market segmentation. We cover topics that will interest marketers, business students, and professors, as well as sociologists, anthropologists and any consumer interested in understanding how marketing works.”
Although a lot of companies still segment their markets by using only hard data, lifestyle marketing segmentation is happening, according to Mazze.
He cited several examples:
o Campaigns by aspirin makers designed to get seniors and cardiac patients to use aspirin to prevent heart attacks. That’s a major shift from aspirin’s original uses as a headache remedy, pain reliever and fever reducer by the general public.
o Pharmaceutical companies marketing their anti-depressant drugs as anti-
anxiety drugs to younger and younger individuals.
o Pay-per-view television, which allows customers to choose programs more in line with their age and ethnic background.
o Automakers that allow buyers of different age groups to customize their cars through the Internet.
Mazze noted companies leading the way in lifestyle marketing are the beverage, cereal, fast-food and other major consumer goods categories. “Within the last few years consumers have seen mainstream grocery chains add extensive offerings of ethnic foods and organic foods for those interested in their origin and with environmental and health concerns,” Mazze said.
Mazze said a focus on the customer has caused marketers to realign boundaries along customer segments instead of product categories to meet the demand for 24-hour, 7-day services.
“Lifestyle analysis enhances target marketing and makes niche marketing feasible,” Mazze said.
The book discusses “differential advantages”—the unique characteristics in a firm’s marketing program that directs its activities to consumer segments so that the customer gets the product when, where and how she wants it.
Published by Praeger Publishers, the book, which is divided into nine chapters, evolved from the authors’ research on the impact of consumer lifestyles on purchasing behavior and from consulting for consumer goods companies.
This is the third book Mazze has co-authored since his arrival at URI in 1998.
One of Mazze’s co-authors, Ronald Michman, is professor emeritus of marketing at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and is the author or co-author of nine books. The other co-author, Alan Greco, is former associate professor of marketing at the School of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.
The book is available directly from Praeger or Amazon.com.