Is It Time to Rethink Your “Core” Market?

So many of the concerns I hear in corporate settings when discussing ways to optimize a company’s strategy to succeed in the Hispanic market has to do with ensuring there are enough resources to target the brand’s “core” market effectively. I often hear hesitation to take action for fear of upsetting or alienating the “core” market. I hear so much about the “core” market to make one think there’s this idyllic definition of the core market out there which is highly coveted, which must not be upset or which mustn’t discover there are others who are different from them shopping in “your” stores. 

Well, I recently read a fascinating report by Peter Franchese, the founder of American Demographics magazine where he exclaims that the concept of an ‘average American’ is gone and probably forever.” 

I was immediately hooked and read on. It seems that in keeping with demographic trends, the 2010 census revealed the U.S. as a country that is complex and multidimensional. Franchese described that U.S. in three ways: 

  1. A Multi-segmented Household Economy
  2. A Multicultural Nation
  3. A Multigenerational Society 

Franchese said that U.S. households have grown ever more complex and varied such that describing or marketing to the “Average” American or the “Core Market” is no longer a relevant undertaking. Consider the following four statistics which speak to the Multi-segmented Household Economy: 

  1. No household type describes even one third of U.S. households
  2. The “Iconic” family with kids represents only 22% of households
  3. There are 70 million grandparents
  4. Women represent the majority of head of households

Additionally, minorities are the new majority. The U.S. Hispanic population is the largest minority segment and is growing at a dramatic rate towards ethnic plurality, something which has already occurred in the most populous states and is beginning to occur among the U.S. baby population.  Consider these six statistics that speak to the U.S. now being a Multicultural Nation:

  1. One in three people in the U.S. are of ethnic background; One in six is Hispanic
  2. More than 300 U.S. counties (one in ten) are “majority-minority” counties
  3. In California and Texas, the traditional majority is now the minority
  4. Los Angeles is 67% ethnic – with Hispanics almost half the population in the city
  5. New York is an ethnic-blend with almost one-quarter Hispanic and is home to the 2nd largest African American pop
  6. Asians are significantly concentrated in CA, NY and TX  

And the multi-generation and multicultural mix in most major markets is astounding. As a country, we are a dichotomy of young and old with multicultural skews among the younger generations and a Non-Hispanic White skew among the older generations.  Consider the following two statistics: 

  1. Half (46%) of children under 18, and 40% of Gen Y and Gen X are Multicultural consumers
  2. While 66% of Boomers and 80% of seniors 65+ are Non-Hispanic White  

Is it any wonder we have a distorted view of today’s core market. So, if what marketers mean by “core” is those consumers with the greatest propensity of buy their products, I think any marketer worth his or her salt would find it  hard to deny that THAT consumer very possibly looks and acts very differently today than he / she did 20 or even 10 years ago.  For starters, she might be female, younger, without a family and might be of a different culture.  So what steps are you taking to redefine your present day core consumer? And what are you doing to optimize your strategies to succeed among them?