Invisible Markets: The Hidden Path To Development
If we have learned anything from the profound changes in society in recent years, then this is: Business as usual is a loss. The implications go far beyond culture – they also have profound implications for trade.
In a time of slow growth, traditional segments are often too mature (and too tough for marketing messages) to offer significant growth potential. Winning in new ways increasingly means unlocking demand in overlooked locations.
The fact is that the market is filled with groups that actually want to hear more from brands. In addition, they're actually frustrated when brands don't give them the attention and respect they deserve. And these groups don't just include well-known ethnic or racial segments like African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics. This includes active and military reserves, people with disabilities and LGBTQ + consumers. Even millennials and centennials often don't believe that brands serve them properly.
The level of frustration these groups share is the common thread among the invisible markets. These groups may agree on little else, but they firmly believe that brands and companies overlook and underestimate them. The term "top 2 box" is a marketing jargon when people either "agree" or "strongly agree" with a statement. What is remarkable, however, is how much more likely it is that these invisible markets will "strongly agree" (top box). It is not so much that these groups feel vaguely as an afterthought, but that they feel intense.
There is good news for brands here. These markets are defined and recognizable; These are existing options that can be used today. And they want brands to stand up for them and their communities. In order to meet this wish, your brand image does not have to be completely converted to serve all non-important markets. But it requires advocacy over apathy.
It is therefore essential to understand: Who do you miss?
Start by finding the groups that best fit your business. It is clear that there is a demand for new products, commercials and programs that better meet the requirements of these segments. But to serve them, you need to know them. What do these people look like in 99% of the cases where they don't interact with your brand? What do you appreciate? What attitudes and beliefs do they have? What nuances stand out as points of differentiation?
However, it is not enough to develop products and services to meet the requirements of the niche market. The new inclusion mandate requires companies to take a holistic approach to inclusion and diversity. In order to win in invisible markets, openness and respect for your markets must affect all aspects of your company – from marketing communication to product innovation to personnel and business design. This seems like a big challenge if you are just considering expanding your appeal to invisible markets. But the effort will be worth it: Studies show that more inclusive brands outperform their competitors in the market.
Companies targeting invisible markets can expect benefits that go beyond a larger buyer base. They also enjoy an improved brand reputation and a future-oriented corporate culture. As society gets closer and closer to its future with majority and minority, these companies will be prepared to know that the people who build their brand, like the people who buy their brand, will develop and innovate ideas.
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