First Up: Newlyweds
When you purchase a new home, chances are your mailbox will be stuffed with direct mail offers for services related to your move, such as home furnishings, lawn care, and cable or internet service. If you think about it, marketing to new movers is a great strategy, as their names are available in the public domain and they are poised to make tons of purchases.
"Life-stage events as a general term are always excellent sources for prospects, because when you go through a major life event, that's when you're most likely to consider making significant purchases," comments John Riley, head honcho of Trigger Direct, a direct marketing firm based in San Diego.
Newlywed is another life-stage event that has profit written all over it. While marketing to newly engaged couples is somewhat limited to wedding and honeymoon planning, reaching those same prospects in their first years of marriage can net marketers valuable lifetime customers. "If you are looking to establish a relationship with a couple, there's no better time to do it then now, because this is a moment when you can get them and you can create some brand loyalty for life," says Miriam Alexander, VP of research for The Nest. Below, Riley and Alexander share insights into the newlywed market and what influences their purchase decisions.
1. The Newlywed Demographic
The Nest is a publication and website focused on the newly married lifestyle and is one of three sister publications/sites; the other two are The Knot, centered around wedding planning, and The Bump, for expecting and new moms. Alexander says that out of The Nest's audience, six out of 10 readers own their primary residences, and about 20 percent of those who are renting plan on purchasing homes in the next 12 months. The median age is 29, 81 percent are college graduates and their incomes skew on the high side, as most are living in dual-income households. A majority of readers are not pregnant but are thinking about having children in the next three years. Six in 10 are thinking about changing their careers to make their new married lifestyles work better.
2. Overlap Between Life Stages
The 1950s model of engagement, merging households, marriage and then children no longer dictates newly married behavior today. Today there is a lot more flux between these events and overlap between the different markets. "We are finding increasing numbers of couples who are living together before marriage ... there is some fluidity in those first few steps," Alexander comments.
Riley agrees that when prospects go through one life-stage event, they often keep an eye on the next one ahead. The tracking from thenest.com proves this point as unique visitors to the site also are moving between theknot.com and thebump.com.
3. Attitudinal Shift From ‘Me' to ‘We'
"There is a series of behaviors that kick in when people form couples ... It is a reorientation of how people make decisions based on what's best for me, towards what's best for us as a couple," explains Alexander, who says that maybe three in 10 people are focused on organizing their personal finances before they get married, a number that doubles after the wedding. "There's this recognition of the fact that we're a unit now, and we need to function as a unit," she explains. While most marketers might assume the female is the one influencing most purchase decisions, Alexander, who is currently conducting research to be released in April, believes that at least half the decisions couples make are joint decisions, in which they rely heavily on their partners' preferences.
4. Profitable Market for Many Sectors
When couples are newly married, according to Riley, they consider an array of products and services including real estate, financial planning, automotive, insurance, and shelter or nesting purchases-and life insurance purchases are most often triggered when people are newly married or have their first child. As Alexander pointed out before, 20 percent of her audience is considering purchasing a home, making real estate an obvious contender in this market. Also, banking and financial services are a necessity as couples merge their finances into joint accounts.
Aside from these endemic categories, Alexander says any smart advertiser will recognize this as a significant time to market to prospects. "It's fertile ground for people who are looking to forge long-standing relationships," she concludes.