Flip-Flops With Socks

Justin Floyd

January 24, 2012

Black belts with brown shoes, flip-flops with socks, and cut-off jeans with mullets – Walmart welcomes you. Let me tell you a little story. There is a woman in my life (who shall remain nameless due to my fear of sleeping on the couch) who found herself in quite a pickle one night. Her two beautiful daughters were in bed, she had just finished taking off her make-up and was comfortably watching Desperate Housewives in her pajamas.  When suddenly…she needed ice-cream.  She put the gossiping, middle-aged women on pause, threw on some sunglasses (it was sunny at 10pm somehow), gently put her already awake, giggling girls in the car and headed to Walmart.  Now, if you find yourself smiling, then this post is for you. If not…keep shopping at Target.

Walmart was the number one most profitable company in 2011. They know what their audience is thinking, they know their income and they know how to become their first choice when those late night ice-cream cravings happen.  So, how did this low-income shopper seeking company trample giants like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and General Electric? Simple: They know how to reach their target market.

When the company was first established in 1962 by Sam Walton, their goal was to appeal to low-income shoppers. They wanted to reach the local, rural residents and give them a good product for a low price. So, they began their research. They learned how much their typical shopper made, how often they visited their store, what types of food they ate, what kinds of clothes they wore, even their political preferences. They learned how to pull at the heart-strings of their consumers. In a low-income family, money is tight and the stress that comes with that is substantial. Loyal shoppers feel taken care of and respected because Walmart is conscious of their economic situation and offers them products they need for prices they can afford.

This marketing strategy proved to be extremely profitable for many years, but as time went on, something happened.  Consumers began to label Walmart  as cheap, dirty and a place for poor people to shop. This was very detrimental to their sales. So, they adjusted. Sam Walton has been quoted as saying, “You can’t just keep doing what works one time. Everything around you is always changing. To succeed, stay out in front of that change.” And that is exactly what they are doing. According to professor John Zhang, their new focus has shifted from bargain shoppers to the 70 million baby boomers in America. “These are the customers with more spending power. You have to figure out a way to follow them and satisfy their needs.”

So how can you apply this information to your marketing strategies? Let me break it down for you:

  • Know your average consumer’s income.
  • Learn about their spending habits, where does most of their money go?
  • Find out what they do for fun.
  • Investigate what kinds of music they like.
  • Research the average age, race and gender of your customers.
  • Figure out where they spend most of their time.
  • Know what types of food they like.
  • Get to know their average education level.
  • Learn about their values, attitudes and behaviors.

The more you know about your target audience, the better you’ll know how to reach them. It’s important to have a creative marketing strategy. People get bombarded with thousands of advertisements everyday, so it’s crucial to have a new and refreshing approach to gaining new customers. And that’s where Jibe steps in. Let us show you how to be visible, smart and absolutely irresistible.