The YAWN population

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I was struck today by some recent CNN coverage of a growing consumer segment dubbed YAWNS - young and wealthy but normal – that is people in generation X and Y who live below their means for ecological or sociological benefit.
At first, the idea of a growing segment of the population actively seeking to trade goods with online community members, adopt a DIY attitude towards furniture, clothing and appliances and reduce luxury spending overall may seem a scary prospect for a marketer. If consumers don’t want to consume new products how are companies going to grow their profits and invest in large-scale marketing campaigns?
This is where the economy of direct marketing is so fundamental to good business. Many marketers already provide YAWNS with what they are looking for: good experiences rather than pure product and true relevance rather than excess. In fact good direct marketing is just that – understanding the need of each consumer and making the products conveniently available to them when and where they want them.
The green marketing talk that has been flooding the advertising industry is more than just labeling a product as eco-friendly. It is about the growing sentiment that consumption for consumption's sake in developed countries carries unsavory ethical implications. As “spray and pray” tactics continue to fail, today’s market requires an understanding of this new population and it is direct marketing tactics such as customer database segmentation and Web analytics that will lead the way to reaching these “nonbuyers” on issues where they are still willing to spend.
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