After reading the articles and listening to the podcasts, one segment in particular caught my interest- the Modern Male Shopper. This segment called out to me because in previous marketing classes, we’ve always targeted distinct segments that were already fully established. The Modern Male Shopper is a newly evolving segment that previous marketers have not directed their focus to before.
As mentioned in the article, “Secrets of the Male Shopper,” marketers traditionally only aimed at the two polar extremities of male consumers- the metrosexual and the retrosexual. Today’s modern male shopper falls somewhere between the two extremities. I believe the age demographics of the modern male shopper ranges from 15 into the 30’s. They tend to be younger because of the higher divorce rates and likelihood of living with single moms. These males are influenced at a very young age by their sisters and moms, and therefore, are more likely to care about their appearances and how others perceive them. Their income levels (or their parents’) may range from the middle class to the upper crust of the elite class. Because these classes have more disposable income, they have more freedom and ability to buy products that satisfy their underlying needs. In terms of behavior, I think the modern males still enjoys “macho” activities such as sports and beer, as well as finds interest in power tools and technological gadgets, but they also incorporate “female” aspects in their behavior. The podcast about male shoppers implies that traditionally, “guys buy and women shop.” But now more male consumers are opting out of mission shopping and spending more time browsing items before purchasing. They may also be willing to spend more time and money on personal grooming items because of the importance of social status. Dressing well now symbolizes social standing, acceptance, and prestige, and men are drawn to these images whether consciously or unconsciously. As implied in both the article and the podcast, the modern male shopper has an underlying fear of being labeled as a “metrosexual” because they don’t want to seem feminine. Therefore, marketers must be really careful how to label/categorize the products they sell. I think they want to feel secure being a man, even when venturing into what they fear is “girl territory.” That’s why places where they can be pampered are called “grooming lounges” instead of “salons” and why skin creams for men are categorized under “health/fitness” to avoid feminine overtones. These men are interested in taking care of themselves and being well-groomed, as long as they can firmly keep their pride without being perceived as gay or feminine.
I found describing this particular segment to be relatively easy simply because I had the guidelines of what it meant to be “metro” and “retro”. And since most male shoppers fall somewhere between there, I was fairly good at placing myself in their shoes to combine aspects of both categories. I think that without these guidelines, it would have been harder to wildly speculate the behavior and needs of random groups of people. Regardless, I think this is a great marketing exercise because it forces you to think outside the box and figure out what really makes certain groups tick. The only thing that bothers me about it is that I am trying to describe these people based on common stereotypes. For example, not all males like sports and being “macho.” Similarly, some men are more secure than others and won’t be bothered about what other people think of them. Not everyone fits into the stereotypes, since no two people are identical. However, I think that marketers now realize that there will never be a set image (as with stereotyping) when it comes to targeting specific groups. They have to constantly alter the characteristics of each target group to reflect changing behaviors and attitudes in the market.