June 13, 2007
Staff Picks: Andrea Learned Recommends
Stand Back, the Karma Queens, Geek Gods and Innerpreneurs are A'Comin' By Andrea Learned If you enjoy tapping your inner sociologist and anthropologist, the new book by Ron Rentel, Karma Queens, Geek Gods and Innerpreneurs, will be right up your alley. Within its pages, you will likely find bits and pieces of yourself, making it all the more fun (or scary) to read. Perhaps even more intriguing still, you'll also see many of your friends and colleagues in the nine "C-Types" Rentel explores. Take a look at the chapters on Middlemen and Denim Dads, for example, and I can just hear you now: "oh yes, that SO describes my friend Ben." But first, what are these C-Types of which Rentel writes? They are nine cohorts that he has found go beyond trends. The "idiosyncratic characteristics that make consumers distinct" in these ways, from Karma Queens to Innerpreneurs etc., emerged from the intersection of the more traditional demographic and psychographic definitions. Thankfully, Rentel's writing style is more accessible than some of the other more data-driven consumer research books on the business shelf. He uses recognizable, everyday references (like what stores people shop in or what brands they associate themselves with) to exemplify each group's habits and influences. You need not be an experienced data analyst in order to create an image of a particular C-Type in your head, and then use it to better understand your own market. Compiling and Organizing Consumer Insights For the marketer, of course, the more you learn about consumers the better, and through Karma Queens, Rentel shares a few clues into who will likely be setting the trends in the next decade or so. He shapes a good primary layer of insights on each cohort from which you can then further define your own particular market segment of interest. If you haven't noticed it already in your work (and in life in general), there is a lot more to consumers than generation, gender and geographic location. A few examples:
- How would today's single female homebuyer be described? Read about the Karma Queens, Ms. Independents and E-litists (the environmentally oriented cohort), and you'll get a good start toward understanding their buying minds and influences.
- Or, what of the technology market? If you are trying to sell gizmos and gadgets, you'd likely want to consider the Geek Gods C-type as well as some combination of the Middlemen, Parentocrats and Ms. Independents.