Super Consumers: How Emotions, Not Behavior Drive Consumption

If you read this column regularly, you are familiar with our emphasis on the few who matter most. In fact, we often share examples of how this strategic focus can be found across business segments and industries.

Eddie Yoon of Nielsen’s Cambridge Group has a name for this group, Super Consumers and he wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review full of insights about this most valuable segment.

According to Yoon, “They know what they want, they’ll buy a lot of it, and they’ll pay a premium for it. They’re passionate and engaged – sometimes even a little obsessive – and they exist in every category, from soft drinks and air travel to fast-food and oral care products.” In other words, they are the 10% of consumers who drive at least 50% of product consumption.

It turns our that this most valuable segment does not share the same behavior and preferences as the general population of mostly light consumers. Yet, often times, companies don’t super serve this segment because they mistakenly believe they already have this group locked up.

Recently at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference, the Cambridge Group provided further insights into this group of heavy users. Interestingly, their unique level of passion, creates a high level of emotional involvement with the brand, which “makes them highly receptive to innovations and offers …”.

Many brands look at consumer behavior without understanding the emotional connection these super users have with the product.

As the article notes, “Behaviors can change over time. Emotions are more enduring and are ultimately the driving force behind behavior.”

Clarifying a Misconception

One of the common myths associated with this group of super consumers is that there aren’t enough of them to drive long term success and growth.

Yet, for companies like Kraft with consistent pressure to achieve quarterly results, the ability to focus their limited resources on just 10% of the customer base that drive 50-60% of their profits is far too lucrative to pass up.

In fact, in just four months, Kraft recently went from providing no strategic focus on this group to spending 90% of their effort and strategy on the select few who matter most.

For radio, the term “super consumer” calls to mind P1s. Yet, not all P1s are created equal. If someone listens to just 10 minutes of radio a week, they are still somebody’s P1, but they don’t consume enough radio to actually make a difference.

DMR/Interactive recruits and engages radio’s super consumers – those who listen at least one hour per day and consume enough of your format to consistently drive ratings and revenue.

To learn more about how you can leverage your super consumers, please contact Andrew Curran, COO at DMR/Interactive.


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