Life Events That Flush Out Whales Into the Open Waters
No matter what business you may be in, there are ways to identify potential whales through behavior patterns. Once you are able to figure out what these benchmarks or patterns may be, you can rely on direct, targeted marketing to reach them.
There are time-sensitive stimulants that trigger a regular-size fish to grow into a whale. This person may not have been a whale just 30 days ago. And a few months from now they may shrink and go back to being a normal-size fish. The trick is to reach them when they develop a whale-sized, ravenous appetite for spending.
Here are some life event markers that frequently touch off the emergence of a whale:
Marriage A wedding, be it a big-time ceremony or a small elopement, will normally spark a great deal of spending in a relatively short period of time. This is especially true when it happens to be a second or third marriage; that is when someone older is marrying someone younger.
Divorce Conversely, this event will also prompt a sudden surge of spending. This is a classic example of someone who wasn’t a whale a few months earlier, and probably won’t be a whale six months from now.
Those who are recently divorced account for a surge in certain industries including health club memberships, weight loss, cosmetic dentistry, liposuction, hair restoration. This reflects the attitude of someone willing to spend money on self-improvement. Their price sensitivity is altered because of the divorce and their newly-acquired single status. There’s a heightened sense of looking good as a newly divorced person that wasn’t there when they were still married.
Buying a Home Here’s an obvious one. New homeowners have been targeted by marketers for a long time. A new residence prompts the need for new furnishings, decorations and appliances to go along with it.
Age/Birthday A trigger seems to go off in certain people when they reach a particular age. They become more inclined to spending on different things, and at a different and often higher level than they were spending before.
Sale of a Business Owners in this category probably spent the better part of their lives slowly but steadily building up the business. When it comes time to sell it, they find themselves flush in cash, more money than they’ve ever had before. That’s because previously the money was usually tied up in the business. Sometimes this sudden influx of cash changes their behavior. Rather than watching every dollar, they feel it’s time to live a little. This is a whale, the kind that is targeted by Las Vegas.
Retirement/New Hobby or Interest For a period of time, some in this category may rise to whale spending status. They now have time on their hands and a comfortable income. So they may show an increasing interest in recreational hobbies or pursuits like purchasing an RV, golf, boating, traveling, even going back to school to learn something new.
Diagnosis with a Disease A person who most likely is going to take a proactive response to getting well or treating the illness can suddenly become a whale. They seek treatment, medication, remedies to cure or minimize the effects of the disease.
Additionally, there are certain demographic categories where a disproportionate number of whales can be found at any given time.
Boomers and Seniors There’s been a big turnaround when compared to past generations. Years ago seniors tended to spend less. They needed less, in many cases lived modestly and had a little money put away. So they didn’t really splurge. Instead they kept a tight grip on their money and hoped to have something left to give the kids and grandkids. Not anymore. Many 60-70 year olds are behaving and spending like they’re 50. For instance, in the skin care industry there’s been a marked shift for high-end, expensive products being purchased by this age group.
Late-Life Divorced and Late-Life Second Families The number of people in these two categories has grown considerably in recent years. Late-life divorced people are buying houses and lots of stuff that goes along with a new home. Those with second families approach it with an “I’m going to get it right the second time around” attitude.
The Affluent, Competitive Hobbies and Recreation Things like $800 putters and $1,000 fishing rods are out there, and people are buying them. There are people into racing autos, owning and racing horses or restoring and displaying antique autos that spend big amounts on a regular basis. These are hobbies that sometimes border on an obsession and there are people out there spending lots of money to participate and keep up with others who share the same interest.
International Travelers and the Anti-Aging Youth Market No one goes quietly into the night anymore. They’d rather go out spending money on exotic trips or on anti-aging formulas, hormone replacement, Cenegenics, etc. There are lots of whales in these categories and they do a lot of heavy spending on new luggage and a whole new wardrobe for their next trip or purchasing anti-aging treatments.
So when it comes to whale sightings, it makes sense to know some of their behavioral tendencies as well as some of the places they can be found. Think about what particular type of business you may be in. Consider who might be a whale and what criteria do you want to establish before you head out on the hunt.
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