Originally published in the startup business column “startup right with harmony” in the Business & Financial Times newspaper
UNDERSTANDING THE STARTUP CONSUMER MARKETS.
Each time you buy a product or service, you are participating in the consumer market. Whether you’re picking up groceries for the week, visiting the shop to buy some fashionable clothes for a new job, or paying to get your car washed, you’re part of this larger system called the consumer markets.
A common path to running a successful startup and small businesses is to find your consumer markets, identify your consumers needs, map their characteristics and establish their businesses as a compelling brand, business, product and services in that market.
Most often, startups try to to meet the needs of all consumers within a particular consumer markets; but the truth is that, not even the bigger companies meets all of consumers needs or satisfies them infinitely, there is a lays a batch of consumers whose needs are left unmet.
So how can startups identify their consumer markets, understand their consumer markets, and capitalize on that information to adequately try to meet the needs of their consumer groups and eventually dominate their existing consumer markets?
Let’s understand what consumer market is.
WHAT IS CONSUMER MARKETS?
So what is a consumer market ? A consumer market is that set up, a structure or a system that gives you (an individual, household, group, institutions, organizational body, etc ) to buy or purchase products, services and goods. In a consumer market, these goods, products and services are not for resale but for personal use or given to another person (shared) for their own use also.
Let’s take a look at the business and financial times newspaper for instance; it is a product or a service which ever category you may want to put it. You buy the newspaper to primarily read its content but not to resell it. This makes you a consumer of the B&FT product. Within the newspaper industry, there is a targeted audience for the newspaper. That targeted audience can basically be referred to as the consumer market or in other words, a portion of a market that you’ve identified as having some special characteristic and that’s worth marketing to.
These markets are very much dependent on the consumers. We can say that, there is no consumer markets without consumers; hence the more interactive the consumer is with the products, services and goods, the more active is the consumer market. Meaning, the more often the consumer buys and use the products, there more actively there is a consumer market.
Some examples of a consumer markets includes; the financial services, food and beverages, apparel and accessories, leisure and entertainment, and healthcare Looking at these examples, you would notice that, these products and services are most purchased for personal consumption than resale.
A few basic Characteristics of the consumer:
Consumers certainly are different from each other, just as individuals do from the other. They think differently, they have different tastes and preferences, different needs, priorities and purchasing habits among many other characteristics that distinguishes one consumer from the other.
For marketers, producers or the manufacturer to define and identify their key groups of consumer, they use a process known as “market segmentation” ( we will look at this in another article).
A brief look at some few characteristics:
These characteristics of consumer markets is defined by product usage rates, brand loyalty, status, consumer benefits etc.
Geographical characteristics are usually based on the market size, region and population density. Climate can also be considered a geographical characteristic.
These are characterized by interests, activities, opinions, values and attitudes.
These includes gender, age, ethnic background, social class, income, occupation, education, household size, religion, nationality, etc