Freemales, Spuds and Salary Miners | BTalk Australia

Last Updated Jan 28, 2009 12:16 AM EST


The 2008 MOSAIC analysis showed the emergence of three consumer groups --- Freemales, Spuds and Salary Miners. Today on BTalk Australia Phil Dobbie asks Graham Plant, Managing Director of Pacific Micromarketing, to explain what these groups are and how demographic tools like MOSAIC compare with psychographic based techniques for segmenting customers.

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  • Today's Transcript
Phil Dobbie: I'm Phil Dobbie. On BTalk Australia today: Freemales, Spuds and Salary Miners --- three new types of consumer in the Australian marketplace. That's coming up. Mosaic 2008 is a geo-demographic analysis of the Australian population --- your customers, in other words. It's put together with the help of Pacific Micromarketing and we have their general manager, Graham Plant on the line. Graham, Freemales, Spuds and Salary Miners --- what are they?
Graham Plant: When we conducted the latest review and development of Mosaic for 2008, we found some interesting trends in the population, and some of the terms we came up with were Freemales, which is more the higher volume of single women than we've had before in the population; Spuds are single-person urban dwellers. We've got a large proportion of the population that is choosing to live alone but also wishing to live closer into town.

Dobbie: Right.
Plant: So they're living closer to the CBD. And the Salary Miners are those who are chasing the big dollars out into the mining fraternity. So they're going out and doing short-term work and getting big salaries before they come back.

Dobbie: This is information you've picked up from the census presumably --- data from the census?
Plant: Yes, the census is obviously one of the primary sources we use for building Mosaic, but we also use additional information such as lifestyle surveys and also information we pick up through partnering and data we pick up through services from brand leaders and their marketing activity.

Dobbie: Right, OK. And you basically pull all this data together and break it up into segments of meaningful groups of people.
Plant: Exactly right. What we're looking for are attributes which are actually consistent across those segments, which can help us describe particular consumer segments. Then we start to look at how they behave.

Dobbie: You've picked on three, are there any other significant emerging trends in 2008?
Plant: One of the other ones is really no surprise, I guess --- it's been spoken about. We're seeing the Baby Boomers coming closer to retirement age and we're actually looking at, for the first time, the post-65 or retirement age is going to be one of the biggest segments of our population. That has a whole raft of different expectations and requirements from society and infrastructure --- how do you support a population which is aging and living longer? So what we're seeing is that older, Baby Boomers who are coming out of retirement, want to keep on working beyond 65 and indeed stay in the workforce. We probably still need them around as well.

Dobbie: A friend of mine told me a long time ago that the longest word in the world was antidisestablishmentarianism --- I reckon geo-demographic is getting pretty close to that as well.
Plant: Giving it a run for its money.

Dobbie: So what exactly is geo-demographics?
Plant: Geo-demographics is really applying the demographic profile of the population to geographic areas.

Dobbie: Right.
Plant: What we've done is look at the population and applied it to geographic areas. So we've been able to build Mosaic and actually give you a profile for a household and say look, it's most likely this is what the person or the family that lives at this household will look like, based on all the attributes and information that we collect.

Dobbie: Right.
Plant: What we start to do is look for groupings in geographic areas of particular demographic types. It sort of follows the theory that birds of a feather flock together and people choose to live near likeminded people.

Dobbie: So what you're actually saying is that people associate with people like them. But a lot of that, that likeness and association, is through work, rather than where you're living, I would have thought.
Plant: Yeah, over the past 20 to 30 years we're seeing such a change in the employment process and, and titles and roles. The way the workplace is now, it's very hard to describe a person from the title that they have, unlike it was years ago. I think we've found is that the best way to identify what type of person you are is by the way you choose to live. Because you know, for example, if you've got kids you'll probably choose a place to live near where their friends would be, where their school is. They'll be able to mix with likeminded people and be near the sporting clubs that they're interested in.

Dobbie: So going back to living in a community rather a community of work?
Plant: Absolutely. I think it is that case that you choose to live near likeminded people. With work now people actually change jobs quite frequently, whereas back when probably we were young, the expectation was you take a job and that would be it for life --- you'd join the company and that would be the way it was.

Dobbie: Now you're putting me in the same age bracket as you Graham. So, if I've got a database of customers, I could wash that against your list and, and get a good idea what the makeup of my customer base is?
Plant: Absolutely.

Dobbie: But I mean, that's based on demographics. Isn't what's of interest to most people more psycho-graphics, more behavioural rather than demographics? You gave the example of the growth of freemales --- this growth of single women --- all off to watch Sex in the City at the movies. They're not all going to behave the same, surely.
Plant: No, they don't and I guess that's where we, I guess demography uses a consistent style of profile information to actually segment the population, and we overlay it with lifestyle information --- psycho-graphics is also extremely valuable. I think often we find many of our customers get the full benefit by using multiple information about data, combinations using Mosaic, transactional data that they have themselves and also questionnaire-type information that they pick up. And we try to build all that into it. I think you're right --- you can't just assume that because you've got that demographic profile, everyone will behave exactly the same. What we do is identify is the most likely way that they'll behave.

Dobbie: Right OK. So give me a couple of practical examples of how I can apply Mosaic.
Plant: I guess one of the ones we've found talking to people is Mosaic can be used in the supermarket industry. If you're looking to the CBD area now, we have a lot more supermarkets popping up that are inner city, in areas where units and apartments and high rises are. The way they stock their goods is more aligned to single-person urban dwellers.

Dobbie: Right.
Plant: You can buy a single serve of steak or pre-packaged single-serve meals and also there's a lot more growth I guess in the restaurant trade around that inner city as well. These are people who are more likely to eat out than eat in.

Dobbie: So you're saying it's a tool that's really geared towards businesses that have got a locality that they've got to service.
Plant: Yeah, particularly also to identify where's the best location to put a store or where do you run your marketing campaign. It has a couple of applications --- if you have a store or you're consumer-facing, it's knowing where to put your contact activity, be it direct mail or direct marketing or even just on your stores. Is it going to be in a location that's convenient for the customers that you want to come into your door?