Marketing execs have been tagging new consumer types—from yuppies to alpha males—for decades. But to replace those outmoded labels, the New York branding firm Consumer Eyes has profiled nine new 21st-century consumer groups setting market trends now. Company founder Ron Rentel describes them in his new book, "Karma Queens, Geek Gods & Innerpreneurs." Among the new trendsetters are Karma Queens, middle-aged women who buy organic food, Eileen Fisher clothes and gourmet bath and tea products; Parentocrats, upper-class obsessives who consider their kids their most important projects and worry about safety; Geek Gods, the young men who need every electronic toy; Denim Dads, who are sort of like neo-Mr. Moms, and E-litists, or upper-income, educated, environmentally conscious luxury lovers.
How does knowing that help move product? Consumer Eyes staffers practice "immersion" research by hanging out where trendy types congregate, reading their magazines and blogs, and developing products (like V8 Splash and Goodyear Assurance tires, for Parentocrats) tailored just for them.
Even the same products can be positioned for different types. For example, a sunscreen for E-litists is "all-natural, biodynamic [and] superpremium"; for Geek Gods, it's "sunscreen 2.0, the next generation of protection." Parentocrats will buy "an umbrella of protection in every bottle," while Denim Dads might go for the "manly enough for dad, nurturing enough for Junior" sunscreen in the "added-fun … spray-gun dispenser." Now, that's target marketing.