Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Think Pink

Nissan Japan defies conventional wisdom marketing their 11-foot long Nissan Pino by targeting a niche consumer category: young women. The Pino can be customized to your pink desires: pink bear-shaped cushions, seat covers with hearts, a CD case that looks like red lips and a colorful cover for a tissue box.

The Miami Herald Story remarks:

"And in most countries, experts tend to advise against making autos pink or adding other ''cute'' features to appeal to female drivers partly because that may smack of sexism and turn off women -- except in Japan.

Here, young women are extremely powerful in setting trends, and the culture of cute is so prevalent grown men aren't embarrassed about dangling little mascots from cellphones.

Also, Japanese consumers frequently use personal products to show off who they are, often buying designer-brand products to make a statement, said Kazuo Ikegami, marketing expert and professor at Rissho University.

''Product image is far more important for Japanese consumers than American consumers,'' Ikegami said. ``There's a much bigger element of personal identity in Japanese marketing.''

Even the advertising for Pino is tailored to women who are about 20 years old."

We are still in the beginning of marketing to women. Especially automotive companies are woefully behind some of the CPG brands. Cars are still marketed to men, even though all research clearly says that women are the deciding factor in the purchase process.

Marketing to a majority like women should follow the same rules when we market to minorities or niches:

A) Listen to your target consumer. Explore their wants, needs, hopes, desires, and dreams. And don't forget to try to understand their concerns, problems and issues.

B) Adjust your brand/product key messages and positioning to above wants, needs, hopes, desires, and dreams.

C) Surprise and exhilarate your customer by taking their wants, needs, hopes, desires and dreams and take them to unknown places. Extend their desires and connect those with your brand/product. Any surprising experience will become an instant viral hit. I do remember every time a brand surprised me, and I couldn't wait to tell my friends.

D) Explore more niches. The 'One-Size-Fits-All' marketing approach doesn't work anymore. Market to babyboomers, early retirees, empty nesters, etc.

An endless loop of Test, Analyze, Test, Analyze...

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