Generation X. Generation Y. Boomers. All nice macro targets - invented by someone else years ago. And made a buck at. Now just part of the drive-by marketing scenery. Does anyone remember VALS - SRI's values and attitudes lifestyle studies that came on the heels of our launching Culturally Influential Consumer Groups® years before the dawn of qualitative research?
Today, marketers talk about Generation X, Y and Boomers as if they really exist, and think about themselves this way...as if saying it makes it so. What do researchers tell their focus group recruiters? Go find me someone who identifies with being Gen X. Guys, this was all made up so someone could sell something to you! Now you buy into it! No wonder marketing's in trouble, and Madison Avenue's worse. The conned are being led by the conmen.
But what Honda and RPA's research doesn't show is the presence of more Culturally Influential Consumer Groups within these audiences. These are the real decision makers and trend leaders. Culturally Influential Consumer Groups like "Walking Actors" are not theatrical people per se. They are simply men and women who because of their occupations and lifestyles must come into contact with more people everyday. For this reason they are more concerned with the cars they drive and the statements that they make. The clothes they wear and the statements that they make. The foods they eat and how food makes them feel. And given that over half the working population now works in a service or information driven industry, that's a huge group of consumers that Honda has yet to learn how to talk to in a private and personal context. This is how you learn what really motivates people about your products. The conversation would be much more intense that the shot this effort will put across the bow. And there are over 250 other Culturally Influential Consumer Groups that will cause more consumers to sit up and take notice.
Expect a bunt and the runner to get picked off at first base here.