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10 years ago
Karma queen or geek god? Marketers eye new consumer
September 25, 2007 / 1:40 PM / 10 years ago

Karma queen or geek god? Marketers eye new consumer

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Move over soccer moms, yuppies and metrosexuals. Karma queens and geek gods are among the new consumers shaping the marketplace, according to people focused on selling you more stuff you didn't know you needed.

In the newly released book "Karma Queens, Geek Gods & Innerpreneurs," branding expert Ron Rentel with Joel Zellnik creates nine new consumer types to replace outdated labels and help businesses shape their marketing strategies.

A karma queen, for example, is identified as a woman aged in her 40s or 50s who tends to buy organic food, wear Birkenstock footwear, practice yoga and buy high-end bath products.

Rentel, the founder of New York branding firm Consumer Eyes, said large companies may overlook this type of consumer because they fail to recognize that her idiosyncrasies are a marketing opportunity.

"The construct (of consumer types) has existed for a long, long time but I think it's been in the past 12 or 15 years that people have realized there's an opportunity to think about consumers this way," Rentel told Reuters in an interview.

One of the most recognized and exploited consumer types is the "empty nester boomer" -- the baby boomer whose children have grown and left the home. But they have been written about so extensively that Rentel does not address them.

Nor does he profile soccer moms and metrosexuals, who are also well-chronicled.

He does, however, identify geek gods, who are identified as men aged under 35 who can't live without the latest gadget and are eager to help others understand their electronics. They are considered the most benevolent of the consumer types.

Innerpreneurs are the rebels, people who ignore trends and focus on their own peace of mind. Such consumers may be in the market for a life coach or challenging vacation in the wilderness.

"It is a shorthand," Rentel says of the categories. "On some level, no one wants to be checked off as a box."

Rentel considers himself a cross between a denim dad and a parentocrat.

Denim dads are active in raising children and embrace a balance between life and work. They might buy expensive jeans and pick the same music player their kids use.

Parentocrats are upper middle class parents consumed with their children's well-being who may invest heavily in music lessons or videos promising to make children smarter.

Rentel said this kind of consumerism had reached epidemic proportions.

"We're not solving world peace," he said. "But on the other hand the idea that market has evolved and continues to evolve is a cool thing in terms of creativity meeting commerce."

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