Your Age As A Function of the Features on Your Cell Phone
By Jay Habegger
A recent survey by TWICE magazine and MarketSource provides yet another example of how market research can be “reversed” and used by advertisers. Although this study is not detailed enough to be prescriptive about precise segmentation of products and brands, it is sufficient to suggest a hypothesis and a method for building an audience segmentation.
The Twice-MarketSource survey is about how age affects cell phone preference. The survey compiled responses from adults in 505 households and then interviewed 100 13-17 year-olds.
The primary finding of the survey is that adult cell phone users value cell phone features radically different than Teen users. For example, 60% of Adults said long battery life is important whereas only 27% of the Teens thought the same feature was important. Conversely, 66% of the Teens said an integrated MP3 player was important while only 27% of the Adults thought this feature mattered.
Another finding of the survey is that Adults are more likely to use purpose built devices, such as MP3 players and digital cameras, while Teens expect to use their cell phones for these functions. Importantly, this difference in opinion isn’t merely because the Adults are Luddites; the most citied reason for Adults to use a purpose built digital camera was picture quality and quality flash. Valid points if you’re trying to take pictures of reasonable quality.
What does this mean to advertisers?
Well, manufacturers respond to market demand by building products to appeal to consumer. The consumer that buys the RIM Blackberry Curve 8520 is likely to be very different from the consumer that buys the Samsung Knack. That seems pretty intuitive.
This study provides more detail about how those buyers diverge and that even the presence of particular features heavily influence who the buyers are likely to be. To delve further, product features can serve to identify and target sub-segments within a consumer audience. For example, Teens are sometimes considered by advertisers as a homogenous group and therefore targeted as such, certain phone features can distinguish Teens into picture, video and social sharing groups verses music enthusiasts. Once an advertiser has identified the different Teen sub-segments, a campaign can be tailored to particular media consumption tendencies of that sub-group (ie short language and bright images instead of a detailed product feature list).