Callcredit Blog

Marketing Myopia

Consumer Marketing Data


While the debate continues about proposals to replace the UK Census with options such as online survey and using data already held by Government agencies, the fact of the matter is that we marketers need to know what changes are taking place in society.  Without this type of universal insight it will more difficult to anticipate needs and work out for who and where they are most suited.  Originally it was commissioned for defence and food production.  Now it’s more closely associated with retail network planning, market sizing and targeting (from a marketing perspective anyway).

However the data is captured and delivered into insight, consumer changes need to be tracked – even small changes to housing stock, household composition, lifestage, age, income, work and travel all have a profound effect on the success of brands in competing for household spend.  For example:

  • The proportion of the population aged 65-74 who were economically active in 2011 (16 per cent) was almost double the proportion in 2001
  • A dramatic rise in the number of ‘other household’ types, eg multi-generational families and unrelated people sharing households

Ofcom report every year on the changes to how consumers use the internet (eg tablet ownership has doubled in the last year) and the British Social Attitudes Report highlights other shifts such as individualism, falling trust in institutions.

Marketers who want to keep ahead of market shifts would do well to build all of these sources (and rich pickings available through the wealth of open data now available) into their marketing environment – whether it is built in-house or externally sourced e.g. using pre build classification systems based on up to date population data.  As Theodore Levitt put it in his 1960 paper ‘Marketing Myopia’, businesses will do better by focusing on the needs of customers today.

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