Birmingham-based outsourced sales company, Skyline Marketing Ltd, has responded to an article in Digital Marketing Magazine that discusses the recent changes in customer behaviour throughout the UK.
The article, The Changing Face of the UK Consumer, written by Nigel Wilson (Managing Director of Consumer Insights & Targeting, Experian Marketing Services) argues that ‘there’s no mistaking that the United Kingdom has been undergone somewhat of a transformation; new groups of consumers continue to emerge, and old ones change and evolve with time’. In order to make sense of this transformation and its side effects in the marketplace, the reasons behind consumer behaviour must be explored. As Wilson identifies, ‘understanding the nuances and habits of consumers has never been more important for marketers to be able to create the right campaigns to engage their key demographics’. He refers specifically to two areas that affect consumer behaviour, the first of which is ‘life stages’:
As consumers, a bulk of our buying and purchasing decisions are driven by life stages – understanding how these life stages have evolved, and how behaviours are changing to suit this is a key step in understanding how brands should adopt their approach to marketing to particular groups.
Merchants and marketers alike must strive to understand the needs of the consumer, as well as their buying power and spending habits. Identifying consumer needs is more important than ever, and a large part of this recognition concerns the ability to connect with customers via accessible platforms that correspond with different life junctures. For example, a couple renting their first house may have a different set of priorities to a couple starting a family.
The second area Wilson identifies is ‘the changing role of the family’. It’s true that in recent years the typical family dynamic has shifted, and the ‘boomerang generation’ represents an entire age group of adult children that has returned home to receive financial support from their more affluent parents. This social drift and change in priorities has caused inevitable knock-on effects for consumer trends; the spending habits of parents who may have been close to paying off their mortgages or saving for retirement have changed to accommodate additional tenants that may not previously have required financial assistance. As a consequence, merchants have been forced to respond to this transformation.
Skyline Marketing Ltd’s Managing Director, Jamie Talbot, argues that the changing behaviour and needs of the consumer are at the forefront of his company’s marketing strategies:
As with all advances in society, from science to technology, consumer behaviour will continue to change in accordance with economic and social advances, and we must be aware of changes in consumer priorities if we are to provide a high-quality service.
As Wilson argues, changes in family dynamics are central to understanding consumer behaviour, and he credits the ‘multi-generation household’ as one of the contemporary causes of this evolution. However, there certainly seems to be a silver lining for companies such as Skyline Marketing working in this changing environment. As Wilson concludes:
With these new levels of insight, brands now have the ability to identify trends within their consumer base they would not otherwise have been aware of, [giving] them the intelligence needed to create carefully crafted, highly personalised digital campaigns to ensure that consumer are reached with the right message on the right channel at the right time.
Ultimately there are opportunities for sales and marketing companies as long as they are ready to evolve alongside the changing needs of the consumer. Understanding and anticipating these needs is essential to providing a quality service that is relevant and accessible, and Skyline Marketing is one example of a company that focuses on the needs of the consumer by targeting different groups recognising their ever-changing needs.