Key to Buyers’ Minds (Case Study)

Key to Buyers’ Minds Consumer buying research has turned a new leaf in India. The era of demographics seems to be on the backbench. Now, Marketing Research people are less likely to first ask you about your age, income, and education etc. Instead, there is a distinct shift towards inquiries about attitudes, interests, lifestyles, and behaviour – in short towards a study of consumers’ minds called psychographics. Pathfinders, the marketing research wing of Lintas, occasionally came out with its highly respected “Study on Nation’s Attitudes and Psychographics (P:SNAP).

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The first in this series was released in 1987 with an objective to develop a database of lifestyles and psychographics information on the modem Indian women. The second was in 1993, and the third in 1998. Pathfinders choose woman for the study because of the belief that more often than not, in urban areas, it is the woman who makes buying decision. The Pathfinders’ study involves interviewing over 10,000 women over the entire country and segmenting them in clusters according to their beliefs, attitudes, lifestyles, and lastly their demographics profile.

The idea is to identify groups of consumers with similar lifestyles who are likely to behave towards products or services. For advertisers and advertising agencies, this profile helps enormously. For example, an advertiser may want to give a westernised touch to a commercial. The profile of the target customer, as revealed by this study, tells the advertising people the perimeter within which she/he must stay, otherwise the ad may become an exaggerated version of westernised India. For the purpose of this study, Pathfinders divided the Indian women in 8 distinct cluster of varying values and lifestyles.

Figures from two studies are available publicly and are given below: |Cluster |1987 (%) |1993 (%) | |Troubled homebody |15. 9 |18. 3 | |Tight-fisted traditionalist |14. 8 |10. 0 | |Contended conservative |7. |9. 3 | |Archetypal provider |13. 0 |8. 8 | |Anxious rebel |14. 1 |15. 8 | |Contemporary housewife |19. 2 |22. 1 | |Gregarious hedonist |8. |6. 6 | |Affluent sophisticate |7. 3 |9. 1 | The studies seek to track the macro level changes and movements within these 8 clusters in a period of time. We note from the table that in 1987, 8. 7% of the women could be classified as “gregarious hedonist” – those who consider their own pleasure to be supreme in life. ‘In 1993, this figure fell to 6. 6%.

The “troubled homebody” segment – those with large families and low-income, increased from 15. 9% in 1987 to 18. 3% in 1993. Information, such as this, is obviously useful to assess the collective mood. That’s why Pathfinders have an impressive list of clients fort heir P:SNAP, which includes Hindustan Lever, Cadbury, Johnson and Johnson, and Gillette. SOME PSYCHOGRAPHICS PROFILES OF INDIAN WOMEN Rama Devi, the Contended Conservative The lady lives a ‘good’ life – she is a devoted wife, a dotting mother of two school-going sons, and a God fearing housewife.

She has been living her life by the traditional values she cherishes – getting up at the crack of dawn, getting the house cleaned up, having the breakfast of ‘Aloo Parathas’ ready in time before the children’s school-bus honks its horn, laying down the dress her ‘government servant’ husband will put on after his bath, and doing her daily one-hour Puja. She fasts every Monday for the welfare of her family, looks at the ‘freely mixing’ and ‘sexually liberal’ youngsters with deep disdain and cannot understand the modem young woman’ s 19reed’ for money, jewellery, and jobs.

Her one abiding interest outside the household is the Ganesh Mandir that she has visited every Wednesday, ever since she got married. She lacks higher education and hence has little appreciation for the arts, the literature, and the sciences. Her ample spare time is spent watching the TV, which is her prime source of entertainment and information. Shobha, the Troubled Homebody Shobha married young to the first person she fell in love with, Prakash. Four children came quickly before she was quite ready to raise a family. Now, she is unhappy.

She is having trouble in making ends meet on her husband’s salary who is employed as clerk in a private business and is often required to work up to late hours. She is frustrated, as her desire for an idyllic life has turned sour. She could not get education beyond high school and hence there are hardly any job opportunities for her. Her husband also keeps on complaining of the long hours of backbreaking work he has to put in. He consumes country-made liquor routinely. Shobha finds escape in Black and White TV soap operas and films that transport her into the world of her dreams.

She watches TV almost all through the day and her children roam around in the locality streets and cannot expect any help from their’ ever-grumbling’ mother. Purchases are mostly limited to ‘essentials’ and any discretionary purchases are postponed till it becomes possible. Neeru, the Archetypal Provider Neeru epitomises simplicity. Her life is untangled. It runs on a set timetable with almost clockwork precision. She works as a primary school teacher in a rural government school about 50 kilometers from her district town residence.

She is married to a social worker in an NGO whose income is erratic. Her three children, two teenaged sons and l0-year old daughter are getting school education. The day begins with the lady getting up before anybody else and finishing the household chores as fast as she can. There is no room for delay as the State government ‘Express’ bus, on which she ravels to her school will be at the bus stop across the road precisely at 8. 00 A. M. If she misses that, the next ordinary bus comes at 11. 15 A. M, quite useless as it will reach her school only at 1. 00 P. M.

The school closes at 2. 00 P. M. There are private Jeeps running sporadically, but the fare is high and Neeru does not believe in wasting hard earned money. Besides, she travels on husband’s ‘free pass’. Neeru prides herself on her monthly savings ofRs. 1000 for the last many years. The money will go toward the wedding of her daughter. Vandana, the tight-fisted traditionalist For Vandana, saving money is ‘in-born’ discipline. When she was young and unmarried, she remembers her mother was extremely tight-fisted and ran the household in under Rs. 800 per month.

It was the necessity of those times as her father retired at a princely salary of Rs. 1800 per month. All through her childhood, she saw deprivation and hardship. She would not join the annual class picnic in her school days as it meant’ avoidable expenditure’. Now she is married and mother of two school going children. The husband works in a bank as a clerk. He has taken all the loans that he could from the bank and invested the money in real estate. As a result of monthly deductions toward repayment of loans, his take home salary is now very little. But Vandana can manage.

The school dresses are sewn by her at home, the stationary required comes from a wholesale market, and the books are second-hand from ‘friends’, cultivated for the purpose. On birthdays, Vandana prepares a sweet dish at home and they spend on a film. There is a cow and calf at home, being kept as a source of revenue and milk. She sells half the milk to a neighbour and the family consumes the rest. Life in general is hard and frugal. There is a colour TV at home, but they disconnected the cable connection ever since the rates went up. Now they watch Doordarshan only. Aditi, the Anxious Rebel

Daughter of a Freedom Fighter, Aditi has always fought her values and principles. People still remember when she walked out of the exam half in a huff as a mark of protest against mass cheating’ sanctioned’ by the centre superintendent in a tough paper. While every body else passed with high marks, Aditi failed. Even though she repeated the paper, Aditi never learned to swim along the flow. She always swam against the current. She joined the Communist Party in her college and gave rousing speeches against the teachers and authorities. This resulted in her getting very poor marks and left her jobless.

Later, Aditi joined an NGO and now works on social issues. She says she is a creature of the mind, not materialism. Her favourite dress is a long flowing Kurta, and slacks. She wears loosened hair and chappals. She reads voraciously. Financially, she is independent and lives with her parents. Her disdain for the institution of marriage and contempt for the modern Indian male keep her single and unattached. She will continue-to be so as she prefers this status, but may adopt a baby later in life. Reema, the Gregarious Hedonist Just 19, and Reema is already divorced. Her father is a wealthy businessman.

During Reema’s childhood, her father was mostly away in Dubai and Africa, trying to amass a fortune. That he did but he lost on his chance to be a good father. Both his children started feeling like’ orphans’ after their mother got involved with another man. Reema was ever longing for her family when alone came Harsh, her private high school tuition teacher. Harsh was all of 22 and very caring. He was tall, handsome, and very popular in school and many girls had a crush on him. Reema was sixteen then and a great fan of Harsh. For her, Harsh was a prize catch as he combined the loving qualities of a father with a mix of being a good teacher.

She was soon dazzled and surrendered in a physical relationship. Marriage followed. She never understood how Harsh changed overnight from a caring father figure to a demanding husband. And she could never cope with the six hours she had to spend in the kitchen everyday. Why should she do the cooking, she asked Harsh, as it was something that the ‘Ayas’ did? The reality of a humdrum middle-class existence hit her hard and she soon walked out of ‘the hell’. Her father understood her need to recover and made her allowance rather generous. He bought her a Red Sports Car and got her an admission in a private college.

College is entertainment for her. She attends college only on days when there is some function like a cultural evening or the sports meet. Now, Reema spends on alcohol, dresses, parties, and holidays. She consumes a mood elevating drug every evening and keeps sending SMS messages on her mobile to her friends all through the night. For her, life means ‘buying pleasure endlessly’. Shruti, the Contemporary Housewife Shruti is an urbane woman. She is well educated and genteel. She is an officer in a national bank, and active in her club affairs and community activities. Socialising is an important part of her life.

She is a doer, interested in watching cricket, politics, and current affairs. Her life is hectic as she has a lot to do for home and office everyday. Still she often enjoys viewing movies on TV every week. Shruti shops for Sarees, jewellery, and cosmetics for herself on a regular basis. However, family needs come before her own needs. Her home is a double income household and she has one kid. All the modern gadgets are present and the standard of living is upper middle-class. Momeeta, the Affluent Sophisticate Momeeta was born Mamta, but elevated herself to Momeeta after marriage to a business tycoon. Momeeta is an elegant woman with style.

She lives in Mumbai because that is where she wants to be. She likes the economic and social aspects of big city living and takes advantage of her’ contacts’. She has built up friendship and cultivated the city bigwigs by inviting them to the numerous parties she throws in her luxurious penthouse. Momeeta is a self-confident, on-the-go woman, and not a homebody. She is fashion conscious and clothes herself in the latest designer dresses. Even at 40, she can carry off a mini with aplomb. She is financial very secure and hence does not shop with care. She shops for quality, exclusivity, and the brand name, not the price.

She frequently travels abroad, buys expensive gifts for friends, and has an international understanding on what is “chic” at the moment. Three psychographics profiles of Indian women and their food shopping habits: |Type I |Type II |Type III | |Money conscious |Careful shopper |Gourmet/satisfaction | |Food shopping is done on necessity and is |Makes out shopping lists and makes weekly/ |General liking for food shopping and food | |postponed as long as possible. monthly purchases. |related activities. | |Minimum amount of money spent. This is |Can purchase larger quantities if there is |Collects and files food recipes. | |enabled through comparative evaluation of |an incentive like lower prices or a gift |Experiments with new food products and | |many shops, even if it takes more time. |scheme. Food budget is flexible. |methods of cooking. Likes to exhibit her | | | |culinary skills to her friends and family. |Operates within the food budget. Does not |Checks labelling for price, nutrition and |Spends a lot of time in kitchen as | |buy larger quantities to save money. |expiry date information |preparing food is an enjoyable activity. | |Price and immediate outflow of cash is the |Goes for tried and trusted brands even if |Food items are bought either based on the | |dominant purchase concern. |they cost a little more. This is an |past satisfaction from them or for their | | |important purchase concern. novelty value. Unknown food items are | | | |purchased if they excite the senses. This | | | |is the dominant purchase concern. | |Who fits in where? | | | |Shobha, Neeru, and Vandana, |Shruti, Aditi, and |Momeeta (she is a food lover). | |Rama Devi | | (Prof Deepak Khanna, colleague, has developed these profiles based on his perceptions of certain personality types). QUESTIONS 1. Explain how the above-mentioned information is likely to benefit a marketer? 2. Which of the above mentioned types are likely to respond to sales promotion? Explain. 3. A manufacturer of personal care products in the premium segment starts frequent sales promotions. What is likely to be the impact on the above-mentioned types?

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