Buyer vs. Consumer

                The person who buys your product may not always be the same as the user of the product.  It is important to keep this in mind, since you will not want to market to users.  You want to focus on gaining the attention of the buyers.

                The consumer and buyer are not always the same for every product.  Therefore, it is important to understand the difference and market accordingly.  The most recent example of this segmentation was the Old Spice commercials.  They recently had a campaign which featured a bare chested male.  This image was particularly appealing to women.  A lot of people thought this was odd, since Old Spice did not have a brand for use by females.  The key was in who bought the users their deodorant.  Proctor and Gamble found in their research that although men used Old Spice, it was usually their girlfriend or wife who would purchase it.  In addition, men were found to simply use any brand that their female companion bought, regardless of their personal preference.  With this knowledge, P &G created advertising that ensured that women would look for Old Spice on their next shopping trip.  The ads were a success for Proctor and Gamble and Old Spice.  It isn’t intuitive, but through their research of their customers, they found something that would work.

                Bud Light and Miller Lite had a similar experience a few years ago.  Both operate in the very crowded light beer category, where advertising plays a big role in market share.  Bud Light found in its research that women were the ones who were more likely to purchase rather than consume.  In the same vein as the Old Spice, the men would then drink whatever their wife or girlfriend brought home.  So, Bud Light crafted an advertising campaign in which men were made to look sophomoric.  This was appealing to women.  At the same time, Miller Lite came out with ads featuring “catfights.”  Needless to say, Miller Lite didn’t exactly target the purchasers.  In fact, most women were turned off by the ads, although they were well received by men.  In the ensuing sales numbers, Miller Lite dropped off and Bud Light got a boost.  The reason was mostly due to the appeal to the purchasers in which Bud Light succeeded and Miler Lite failed.

                It is very important to understand your customer.  However, it makes sense to understand not only who is using it, but also who is purchasing it.  It isn’t always as simple as men versus women,  but there can be other differences.  This is why it makes sense to fully analyze your customers and understand their role with your product.  If not, your marketing dollars could be wasted on the wrong target.