Lifestyle segments offer prime targets
Lists that focus on lifestyle can reap big results, from the gay and lesbian market and DINKs to Catholics and the military. Four experts show you how to reach these segments
VP of list management, Trinity Direct
Although mailing to the Catholic market is very similar to targeting the mainstream consumer, donor, or publisher, there are a few nuances that marketers should be aware of.
Catholics like to shop by mail, read magazines and books, donate to their favorite charities and can definitely be very responsive to a variety of direct mail offers. They are generally an older audience — age 65 or more — but they still have an excellent giving span and live well into their 80s.
Within this demographic, there are many different types of Catholics with varying degrees of religiousness. The casual Catholic can respond differently than the practicing Catholic, depending on the offer. Be careful that you are not offending the audience with whom you are prospecting.
So how do you know what offer is appropriate to send to whom? The simple basic direct mail rules still apply. Get to know the list. Send them offers appropriate for a Catholic market. If you are unsure about your item, have it pre-cleared.
Don't be afraid to mail to this market. Catholics, just like the rest of the populace, have been known to shop from Bloomingdales, read Reader's Digest or People, and even donate to causes that are not necessarily religiously oriented, such as medical, animal, cultural and environmental appeals. Yes, the religious offers will still see the best responses, but keep in mind that not all religious offers will work for the Catholic marketplace.
Learning what you can about the lists before ordering them is important, but testing is still the best indicator.
So my advice is: Test the marketplace and see if it works for you and work with your broker and list managers to see if the Catholic marketplace is the right market to prospect with. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Be careful not to offend the older, religiously oriented Catholic market
Marketers seeking a target audience of luxury lifestyles and frequent travelers fare very well with prospecting to Double Income No Kids (DINK) families. This highly sought-after DINK market provides both challenges and benefits.
Identifying families with two working adults and no children can be tough. Creative marketing selections can help to overcome many of these challenges. First, many databases offer segments that identify families with children, but not those without. One way to handle this obstacle is to simply omit known families with children. This way, you are at least ensured to reach those without children, although some families with kids may still be on the list.
Second, it is also hard to find a good, up-to-date source of married folks, and there are not many self-reported lists with this information. Some options are to select high household income, alternative lifestyle couples or files with marriage/anniversary dates.
Why go through the trouble to identify DINK families? Because of the unique benefits they provide. Families with two incomes and no children have more disposable income at their fingertips than those raising children. This makes them terrific prospects for entertainment and luxury items. They shop for themselves. Also, these folks are not tied down and are often free to travel or change plans at a moment's notice, so they can take advantage of travel or last-minute offers.
So, if you are looking to target an affluent and free-traveling group of consumers, you should keep the benefits and challenges of reaching the DINK market in mind for your upcoming marketing plans.
The DINK market is desirable because it is affluent and free to travel
Manager, account management, ListSolutions
According to the US Census, there are 1.39 million active service members in our military. That number increases to 3.3 million when adding spouses and children. Understanding the benefits, challenges and best means of targeting this lifestyle are integral to our CRM and customer acquisition strategies.
Why target military members and their families? First, these households tend to have higher disposable incomes than the average US family. Secondly, we can generalize that most between the ages of 18-34 come from middle-class backgrounds, with a high school degree and possibly some college.
Finally, the group is underserved due to some marketing challenges. Military Post Offices (MPOs) have various weight, size and content restrictions on packages. For those living on base with a PO Box or overseas address (APO/FPO), mailers must use the USPS and priority mail when sending packages to ensure deliverability.
Once this cost of doing business is deemed acceptable, marketers should ensure order forms and shopping carts are APO/FPO friendly and able to accept the military states of AA, AE or AP. Otherwise, consider targeting only stateside personnel who have an off-base street address.
Another challenge is the frequency with which many military families relocate. It is estimated that about one third of them move annually. This flux makes it imperative that our mailing lists are updated using NCOA as frequently as possible.
When researching military lifestyle lists, consider additional selects and whether the offer could apply to a military spouse or other family member. Once you have your list — or lists — incentivize those people by offering a military discount or some other acknowledgement in your offer.
The military market is underserved due to mailing and relocation challenges
Client marketing manager, ALC
As gay and lesbian consumers continue to gain visibility and acceptance in American life, they more than ever offer an attractive, untapped source of active consumers with large amounts of discretionary income. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community commands $1 billion in spending power. This number has advertisers scrambling to reach this powerful audience and grab market share.
The surprising news is that many direct marketers are ignoring the LGBT community as a whole. Time and time again, we hear from mailers that the gay community is “not their audience.” The question remains, however, what marketer in the world can ignore the type of buying power that the LGBT community represents?
In virtually every consumer category from technology to financial services to personal care products, gays and lesbians are first to embrace new products and trends. They are early adopters who provide opinions to friends and family. As a result, they influence purchasing among mainstream consumers as well.
Marketing to the LGBT community is not without its challenges though. For marketers to successfully reach the LGBT community three things should be taken into account: research, positioning and planning.
Research the LGBT community as a whole. Discover its power and what drives purchase decisions. Make sure your offer speaks to the entire LGBT community. Lastly, base your marketing campaign on your research, making informed decisions. Using your corporate citizenship and brand position of acceptance will go quite far in this community.
The long term benefits of gay marketing are many and range from capturing an untapped resource to increasing overall exposure. Brands such as Absolut, Levi's, Apple, Budweiser, Avis, Starbucks, and Condé Nast have increased their market share and at the same time become relevant brands in the LGBT marketplace.