Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More on the LM Psychographic - Build-a-Bear at Tracker school

Piling in on my post from yesterday, I want to explore the concept of the LM customer psychographic in further detail. To reiterate, the "psychographic" defines any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles of your target customer. Yesterday we dealt with the American-ness of the profile and areas where that theme might resonate.

Today I want to discuss "education" a bit further. What is it today that defines our lust for do-it-yourself? In my own life, I can see the transition: My parents grew up in a time where gas was pumped for them - "Full-Serve" if you will. Today, we dispense our own gas, select automated car washes, and do it all in style. Some might say it is the economics of the fuel retail market that "force" us in to doing it ourselves, but if "force" were any part of the equation then we would not have seen the meteoric rise of Home Centers like Home Depot and Lowe's. Today, people have a morbid fascination with how things work. From potato-guns and mento's explosions to tile-saws and paint-it pottery, Americans today have a fascination with doing it themselves that would make Thurston Howell III opt to stay on Gilligan's island.

(Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III, Gilligan's Island, us.ent4.yimg.com)

Two fine examples that drive the point home are found in unlikely places.

1) Build-a-Bear Workshop founder, Maxine Clark, discovered that if you allowed people to take part in putting a Bear together that they would pay more for the finished product. Really quite revolutionary. Imagine explaining to an early 20th century toy retailer that if he were to buy toy parts instead of finished bears, that he could make more money on the sale. It is akin to a crazy kind of dual competitive advantage (lower cost and higher price)...at least until others figure it out.



2) My personal favorite is Tom Brown Jr.'s world famous tracking school in the New Jersey Pine Barren's. Trained by a Shaman Scout known as Stalking Wolf, Tom, started this school to pass on the knowledge of how to assimilate and become one with nature. From Wilderness medicine and philosophy to scout and tracking skills, this school is a one-stop shop for the true do-it yourselfers. In fact, they are so into the do-it yourself ethos at the Tracker School that they even invite people who work there to donate their own time to learn the skills while working on staff. Amazing commitment to learning, AND........ they charge about $1,000 per person to learn to live in the earth and eat from its fruits.

So if "yearning to make your own bear" and "giving it all to live off the earth" are any indication, the type of education and do-it-yourself value we are targeting in our customer is a strong match to a solid group of Americans today.


tim said...

LEGOS sell for a premium for the same reason. It's about the experience as much as the product. People will pay separately for each but more for both together.

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