Thursday, December 5, 2013

Root Through the Trailer Trash

Many shoppers aspire to have possessions and use services associated with higher social classes than they themselves are in. At the same time, there is what consumer researchers call “parody display,” in which shoppers find fun in slumming, by incorporating into their lives merchandise and experiences associated with lower social classes than they themselves are in.
     Research findings from Virginia Tech and Ozyegin University remind us that selling opportunities can also be inspired from the relations among segments within a social class. The researchers identified five segments within what some might call trailer trash.
     That’s generally considered an insulting name for low-income trailer park residents. Yet, say the researchers, these consumers are by no means all alike. Here are the names used by the researchers along with my profile including suggestions for retailing to each segment:
  • Community Builders. These are the sociable, collaborative optimists. They enjoy having neighbors a literal stone’s throw away, although they’re unlikely to throw stones even at a disagreeable neighbor. The Community Builders are periodically in the market for party supplies. They also can be good resources for distributing to other trailer park residents news about good stores to shop at. 
  • Nesters. These residents admire hard work and discipline. They maintain their mobile homes well and take pride both in the appearance of the trailer and in their abilities to live economically. They’re good customers for items to dress up their homes in quality, but they want to be sure they’re getting full value for their money. 
  • Homesteaders. They accept the need to live in a trailer park, perhaps for economic reasons, perhaps because of limited mobility, perhaps for another reason. They are reluctant to leave the confines of the trailer park because it’s familiar to them. The do make use of opportunities, though. They’re receptive to sales by vendors who come to them. At retail stores, they’re bargain hunters. 
  • Reluctant Emigrants. They’re ashamed of living in a trailer park, seeing it as evidence that their lives are getting progressively worse. They’d hesitate giving their home address to a retailer, preferring to pick up large purchases rather than arrange for delivery. 
  • Outsiders. These are the rascals of the realm. They have limited interest in creating or maintaining a broad, inclusive community within the trailer park. Because they break the rules and seek thrills, they might not be around long enough to become good retailer customers. 
Click below for more: 
Plumb for Consumers’ Desire to Slum 
Ask “Whither Art Thou Helping?” 
Resolve Conflicts with Attention to Style 
Steal Attention with Rascal Appeal

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