MICROMARKETING IS GAINING WIDER USE

NEW YORK -- Brand marketers are turning to micromarketing tools that tie consumer buying patterns to specific stores through more efficient use of data bases.The approach is supplanting traditional mass marketing in the packaged goods industry because it links shoppers with specific products, thus saving on promotion and other expenses, said Monika Torrence, vice president of product management at

NEW YORK -- Brand marketers are turning to micromarketing tools that tie consumer buying patterns to specific stores through more efficient use of data bases.

The approach is supplanting traditional mass marketing in the packaged goods industry because it links shoppers with specific products, thus saving on promotion and other expenses, said Monika Torrence, vice president of product management at Spectra Marketing Systems, Chicago.

"There is a greater awareness by brand managers of what these tools can do for them," she said. "Retailers can save money and improve sales because they are more aware of the difference by stores or cluster. The differences allow them to make optimal changes by category mix. It does away with a lot of wasted effort."

Torrence spoke about micromarketing at the end of last month at a conference sponsored by the Strategic Research Institute based here.

Micromarketing goes beyond simply gathering marketing data, she said. It synthesizes information, allowing population groups to coalesce into discrete segments, each with specific buying patterns. The buying profiles are then linked to neighborhoods and stores.

Torrence said Spectra does this using a model that merges consumers' lifestyles, such as income level, with life stages, such as age. The result is a 54-segment matrix, with each segment representing a cluster of shoppers. The model draws information from 15 data bases, including customer profiles, local buying patterns, national census counts and trade information from supermarket retailers, club stores, pharmacies and mass merchandisers.

She described an example where the matrix identified high sales of peanut butter among families in working-class towns (the lifestyle axis), who are between 18 and 34 years old with children (the life-stage axis). Similarly, few peanut butter sales would be expected among the metro elite who don't have children.

Armed with that information, peanut butter marketers might logically focus promotional spending on stores located in young, blue-collar neighborhoods, but not in upscale, urban environments. The other 52 segments also identify and help brand managers prioritize spending targets.

Torrence said she sees micromarketing as a way of strategically uniting manufacturers and retailers.

"On both the in-store and the manufacturing sides there is a connection to Efficient Consumer Response because of the efficiencies of targeting customers," she told Brand Marketing.