Rising to the top in an ocean of offers

According to the United States Census Bureau, 11.6% of the U.S. population moved between 2010 to 2011. New movers, and all of their attendant needs and requirements, represent a sizable opportunity for marketers. But at the same time, new movers are so inundated with marketing messages that businesses have to develop sharp strategies and targeting tactics to ensure their offer grabs attention.

“Marketers need to understand that new movers are not the same as existing residents, and they need to target them differently,” says Marilyn Imparato, director of sales and marketing of new mover direct marketing organization Our Town America.

Our Town America helps businesses track potential customers and build loyalty with targeted new mover offers and packages. These packages benefit both movers and local businesses, Imparato says, by familiarizing new residents with local businesses and by helping those businesses reach out to potential customers.

Imparato points out that it’s difficult to solicit new business from existing residents, many of whom are already set in their routines. “A new mover doesn’t have any of that,” she says. “They have to reestablish those things, and they want to get back to being like an existing resident as soon as possible.”

Wally Sauthoff, owner of Wisconsin-based salon Sport Clips, uses Our Town America’s services to provide new customers with a free haircut at certain locations.

“[New movers] are coming into a new trade area, a new home area, and they’re establishing their buying habits,” Sauthoff says. “Our wish is to become their hair-cutter of choice from the beginning when they move into their new location, so that we become established as their new haircut location. We want to build their buying habits early if possible.”

Sauthoff says offering real value from the start hooks potential customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Ultimately, cutting through all of the marketing noise that bombards new movers is one of the key challenges marketers face, says Sauthoff. “I think it’s become more difficult to identify and communicate with new movers,” he says. “A lot of people don’t want their information out there. They don’t want the junk mail.”

Although Sport Clips uses a number of marketing channels to attract new clients, such as social media, TV, radio, and direct mail, Sauthoff urges marketers not to overwhelm new movers with ads. “Information overload,” Imparato adds, will not be well-received.

“New movers are flooded with offers and opportunities so it’s difficult to stand out in the crowd when you’re trying to attract them to your business,” Sauthoff says.

Knowing the characteristics of new movers helps marketers improve their targeting and find an audience. For instance, the try-before-you-buy mentality common in Gen X and Millennial movers informs the nature of Sports Clips’ deal. 

“What we’re doing with Our Town is rather than offering [customers] coupons or trying to sell them something, we’re offering them a gift to come in, try us out, and give us a shot,” Sauthoff says.  

Gen X and Millennials aren’t brand-driven, Imparato says. “And because they’re not brand driven, they want to test something before they will become loyal,” she says. “They’re more focused on let-me-try-them-out and let-me-see-what-I-feel-and-think about [the company]. So they’re intelligent about on whom and where they’re going to spend their dollars.”

This younger target audience, Imparato adds, is also more likely to be particularly loyal to socially-conscious and philanthropic companies.

New movers, ultimately, will always be inundated with ads and offers; it’s a market that’s reliable and predictable.

“It doesn’t change, meaning that, statistically, 17 to 20% of all people move,” Imparato says. “What we see across the board, what we’ve seen for 40 years, is really consistent. Whether the economy is good or bad…people are still moving.”

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