Inspired by John Gerzema: The post-crisis consumer- TED Talks

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Video:

The video describes the consumer changes after a financial shock. These changes had a significant impact on the way they dealt with products they were previously loyal to. Customers changed their behavior to seek out cost saving products .This got me thinking that typically from a strategic point of view we don’t expect sudden unexpected shocks. Furthermore we tend to think about consumers in the present tense and after drafting a consumer profile assume it’s resistant to change.

From first year marketing principles, to second year consumer behavior to third year marketing strategy and planning one element remains the same. That is the focus on the consumer, indeed it’s embedded within the definition of marketing itself. Marketers are taught to accurately pinpoint who the consumer is to the extent where a customer profile can identify a consumer just based on their looks. Even though part of the segmentation process is scanning of the environment over time I believe these profiles become static to a company. I mean that companies take for granted the characteristics of that the customer profile and don’t regularly redefine the characteristics to take into account environmental change. This is seen as companies tend to take lag behind new entrants into the market when a significant change has occurred. An example of this is Nokia, while they had consumer based products they failed to identify the demand for an integrated phone. Apple as a new entrant when defining its customer profile identified the demand and was able to take significant market share.

It is my believe that a customer focus must be approached from a dynamic strategically holistic point of view taking into consideration the environment and the companies resources as opposed to Its oppositions. This means that a customer profile after being defined with its product isn’t simply shelved but is continuously updated to prevent losing a potential market or it becoming obsolete. Unfortunately this view is somewhat idealistic in regards to being able to predict a shock in the environment. However, if a shock is to occur the company would be much better equipped to deal with it.