As 2018 begins, a new marketing trend has emerged that will have a major impact on the economy over the next decade – Marketing to casual workers.
As the workforce in many modern economies has begun to restructure due to technology and cost-cutting, we are beginning to see some new demographics emerging.
As the number of non-full time workers increases, marketers face new challenges understanding, tracking and catering to this change. They already have their hands full with digital disruption in the form of apps, social media, and the dominance of mobile phones.
What is so important about casualization and why do marketers need to focus on it this year? Well, that’s a good question and let me see if I can explain it. Modern economies have been built on the premise that people work to buy assets, For example: cars, appliances and real estate. If the wages people earn begin to drop then the type of assets they purchase begins to change and this has now begun to occur.
As the workforce changes from full time to casual, the purchase patterns also change and this has major repercussions for the economy. For example: It may have taken both your parents eight years to save for a house deposit. Now, let us consider casual workers who may never consider buying real estate. A change like this fundamentally restructures the whole purchasing power of the economy, as consumers begin to reject old models and begin to make their own.
This may seem like a science fiction movie but it is happening all around us, now. First highlighted by the movie “Elysium”, Matt Damon’s character portrays what modern casualization life looks like. Temporary, precarious, unstable, insecure and quite frankly, very scary. I won’t sugar coat it, it is not pretty.
In Australia, current government statistics put the percentage of casual workers at 31% in 2016 which is up nearly 4% from 2005, according to ABC News Australia. As marketers, we have to realize that casual workers have to be very careful with their limited income. Our job as marketers this year, is to become more aware of these social changes and to think of creative ways how to build brands for products and services to engage these consumers.
Video: McDonald's "Loose Change Men"
Marketers like McDonald's have been very quick to pick up on this trend by introducing their “loose change” menu which targets “budget-focused customers” by taking advantage of the loose change in their pockets and turning it into sales. Retail food outlets are at the front line of market changes and quickly changing demographic trends.
In essence, it is very likely that we will soon begin to see companies having two menus, one for full-time workers and one for casual workers. This will be subtlety done like “the loose change” menu where most consumers do not even notice the change.
The trend for catering to the new casual demographic is predominate in retail which also includes companies like Big W and K-Mart who have cut their prices for a range of basic items to levels consumers have never seen before.
It is only a matter of time before this new demographic spreads to other sectors. For example: Uber could see huge growth from casual workers who will never consider buying or owning a car of their own. Pre-paid mobile phone plans are a growing choice for casual workers who now do everything on their smartphones and have no need for a laptop, home-based PC, landline Internet connection or home phone line.
Casual workers when selecting products and services tend to use the cheapest and most convenient. I call this new demographic “convenience seekers” as they have the chance to search, find and use just the products or services they need at the lowest price. They no longer need to buy and collect assets but only use things that matter to them and this is a huge philosophical change to how we see and perform marketing.
As marketers, we must begin to consider the impact of casualization on what we do and how we perceive brands. We have to forget the old monikers of Millenials, Baby boomers, and Gen-X for a moment and begin to embrace a whole new type of demographics which will become more niche and sophisticated over time.
I gained experience marketing to casual workers in Japan
Copyright. Peter Hanami. 2018. All Rights Reserved.