Dr. Jenny Darroch is a Professor of Marketing at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management and founder of Mollior.com. She is the author of three books including Marketing Through Turbulent Times and Why Marketing to Women Doesn’t Work, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
In our conversation, Dr. Darroch argues that while the role that women play in consumer society has changed, the marketing strategies that marketers and business owners use to engage women haven't kept up. The days when marketers could simply "shrink it and pink it" are gone. Darroch is calling for a more sophisticated strategy to meet women's needs and understand their purchase motivations.
Dr. Darroch has spent much of her career studying market segmentation. She encourages business leaders of all sizes to work harder to truly understand their customers – not just their demographics, but their motivations, purchase behaviors, and value systems as well. While this kind of research is more difficult and often more expensive, Darroch suggests a simple way to go about it for small businesses. Select a cross section of 15-20 customers and take them out to coffee or lunch and ask them the following questions:
- What problems are you solving with our products?
- Are you using our products in ways other than their original intention? – eg. toothpaste as an all-purpose cleaner.
- Do you use competitors or alternatives to solve other problems?
- When do you use our products? (context of the user when she uses or buys a product – am i talking to you as a mother, as a professional, as a vacationer?)
- What do you wish our product could do to help you?
If you're open to some criticism and the reality that your product isn't the center of your customers' universe, you stand to gain a good deal of useful insight from these conversations. This will help you build more effective customer segments based on more than just demographics.
Take a listen to the podcast and let me know what you think!