If you follow me; you probably have heard me speak about the only two reasons anybody buys something, they either “need it or want it”. How the marketplace is educated to “need and want” has changed over the years.
From the early colonial days to the late 19th century the United States of America was predominantly a producer oriented country. Most people produced what they needed for their own use as well as those relatives or villagers near to them. The 20th century moved us into the age of consumerism and shifted us into a society who shopped for what we “needed or wanted” in what many of us consider a more traditional manner. Now in the 21st century actually the 16th year of the third millennium we are truly seeing many changes as well as the effects of computers and social media. How “need and want” is addressed is also evolving.
My own experience with “need and want” has spanned six decades in that time I have been exposed to; the influence of the weekly reader in grade school, “needs and wants” acquired at home, through social interaction, and as I matured through today; newspapers, catalogs, flyers, Direct mail, radio, paid radio, internet radio, broadcast TV, Cable TV, internet TV on demand TV, all types of internet based entertainment, social media; today the evolution roars on. We are educated on availability of things we may “want or need” in many ways; however we are driving the search more often through specific criteria more than before. Marketing has transitioned from the general to the targeted audience.
The intrusiveness of traditional advertising is disappearing as general market media is being overlooked by many new generations entering the marketplace. Many consumers are adept at searching for specifics and avoiding media of the masses. When we talk about the world or the entire country as a market place we can in many ways be speaking of highly fragmented groups of potential consumers distributed over a larger geographic area. Build it and they will come/ location, location, location is changing to; find a niche offer it/ audience, audience, audience.
Today we have the ability to weed out niches and fulfill orders; but so much of the ancillary market or ripple of traditional advertising is lost to a market place that has no idea of the benefits or reason you may need or want certain products. As the internet and brick and mortar continue their evolution we as marketers now must assume some educational responsibilities that not so long ago were spearheaded by the manufacturers.
As niche product lines fill voids in the larger marketplace; and new products or uses are developed; people need to know about them. Many of these new products or uses come from manufacturers that have less exposure to the general marketplace. These manufacturers in order to succeed need to educate their customers to the salient points of their products and then they will be able to focus on “need and want” at the correct time in the purchase cycle. Today more and more businesses are not driven by location; as much as they are by audience, followers, and convenience of delivery. People that bridge the generation gap remember things they learned through traditional marketing and education and they are aware of things they may infrequently need. For instance, shoe horns, long saws, hobby tools, knitting accessories, and a myriad of specialty items. People who are the next wave of consumers may not be as aware of many items the earlier group takes for granted. The new wave of consumers may be more technologically savvy, however they be unaware of the benefits of products they stumble across as they use the internet and never develop a “need or want” for them.
People will instinctively “need or want” things; marketers must assume the challenge of how to educate the marketplace about what’s available, in the ever-changing purchase cycle.
alan b. meschkow 10/1/2016-this article is my opinion, based on personal experience.follow me on: