December 30, 2021
It’s not easy to study consumer behavior, but this research group did the impossible: they followed the consumer trends of 800,000 in three countries in over ten years. What did they find? That there are two kinds of consumers in this world:
Consumers #1 (The Traditionals) are those who are searching for the deal/bargain who care about price, features, and status (52% of all consumers). They tend to venture out only when the deal is too good to pass up.
Consumer #2 (The New Age Orders) are motivated by a search for the extraordinary. They need to feel a connection to the product or service and view their choice as an expression of their own individuality. They care about design, authenticity, novelty. NEOs are responsible for 77% of all consumer spending.
According to the leaders of this study, “it’s a core set of what people value that drives consumption, far more than any other factors.” NEOs are people who seek experiences that match their personal values and spend freely. Who doesn’t want more of those types of guests attracted to their tour or activity?
Being stuck in between these two consumers results in a massive struggle to survive. But that’s exactly where most small businesses end up as they are torn, trying to appeal to both types of consumers to make everyone happy.
Instead of trying to appeal to all consumers, consider what sort of impact focusing on the NEOs would have on your business. Let’s explore what this looks like.
People are attracted to other people and brands that share their values. Caring about the same things tends to create a strong emotional bond, and that’s exactly what purpose-driven business is all about. This requires getting crystal clear on your core brand values as a tour & activity. This is a set of guiding beliefs and principles that dictate all the actions you take in business, including your message, identity, personality. and the experience you offer.
There are hundreds of things that can drive your brand and direct your values, from something as obvious as ‘having fun’ to something that has serious impact in this world, such as ‘sustainability’. As long as you are honest and authentic with regards to your values, there are no ‘wrong’ values. Why? Because there will always be people out there in the world that share them. Those people are your best customers.
In marketing, we talk a lot about understanding your customers. We spend so much time creating persona identities and researching consumer behavior. To simply be aware and clear on your values is not enough – you must understand these values from a consumer perspective. How do your brand values align with the values of your guests & visitors? Why do people care about these values over other values?
Asking “why” is the key to unlocking greater success in business. The ‘5 whys’ is known amongst many as the ultimate root cause analysis tool. You can’t create a remarkable tour & activity for travelers without understanding why they are seeking this sort of experience in the first place. So when you’re evaluating the values you have chosen, ask questions like:
Why is it crucial that people have fun experiences and why do people need to have fun? Why are people drawn to fun experiences?
When we dig deeper, we realize that having fun is a lot more than just having fun, and that we value ‘fun’ for certain reasons beyond the surface. You can plug ANY value in here to replace the value of “fun” and begin to understand the bigger impact of the values you have chosen. Understanding (1) why you have chosen it as a driving force for your tour & activity and (2) why people care about it and how it impacts them is key for marketing it successfully.
The final step is the most important – it’s not enough to just say or claim in your marketing that you value something like say, sustainability. If you make the bold claim, you must back it up with action, or guests will be very disappointed. This is why we go through the step 2 process! Because once you understand why you and your guests share a certain set of values and why those values are important, you can make sure each moment of your experience embodies those values.
Go through your experience and look at each moment and touchpoint through the lens of all of your values. For example, you say you value sustainability, but why is your tour itinerary printed on paper instead of a digital version? A critical eye to every detail is important to ensuring your experience matches with what you claim your values to be.
Sit down with your team and evaluate the journey you take visitors & guests on. Look at each moment as an opportunity to shine a light on your values. This is how you create a cohesive, authentic and unique experience that attracts and engages the NEOs of the world!
We’d love to hear what sort of values are driving your tour & activity. Share yours in our free Facebook group!