The most influential customer segment in the history of commerce is about to make itself known. This looming audience is bigger than any single buying category in the history of commerce. It’s not a single demographic, an economic stratum, a regional bias, or a trend. As a group it runs across every stratum imaginable. It hasn’t arrived yet, but the scale is tipping and when it does it behooves smart businesses to be prepared.
Ignoring the obvious is never healthy. According to the best minds in the business our planet is doomed. The sixth extinction is well into its early stages and Homo sapiens are on the watch list. As the global population comes to understand this reality our motivation as a mass buying population will change from demanding convenience, style, and price to a different set of criteria, those things that will keep us alive. Elizabeth Sturcken, managing director of the EDF+Business program at the Environmental Defense Fund, in an interview with The Daily Beast, notes:
There is immense business value creation in sustainability… Companies aren’t waiting for government action. Companies are driven by data, by science. Truth matters. And the only conclusion you can come to, if your company is looking toward the horizon and you want your business to grow, is to be pro-active on these issues.
The ensuing demand for “good” is a behavioral shift of the masses that is happening in small increments now. Don’t confuse this with the affluent, educated, liberal, agnostic, coastal dwelling conscious consumerism that floated Whole Foods’ boat. This is altogether a different beast, one being born of necessity transcending class distinctions. Sturcken again underscores the coming wave, “The planetary imperative is that we need change faster and at scale… The place you see the real impact, is that sustainability is baked into everyday products that consumers who are middle-class can afford… Companies are saying that the challenges and opportunities go beyond their four walls to consumers they touch. If [companies are] thinking ahead, they’re thinking of opportunities and seeing customers demand good corporate citizenship.”
Extending the appeal of your brand, product, or service to this larger population of buyers moving into behavior ‘demanding good’ is a matter of understanding how they acquire knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, cultural influences, family dynamics, and raw sensory input. Learning how to activate them within your sphere of influence, and to understand their motivations and cognitive processes is the first step in acquiring the buying power of this audience. The market share opportunity is vast. Yes, there is Latent Demand for Good. And, learning how it operates and who is already demanding good and who will be demanding good is the next most influential battle ground in the market place and likely to be the final battle ground.