Businesses narrow focus with zoom-in marketing

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Businesses narrow focus with zoom-in marketing

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Products aimed at smaller, specific consumer groups are selling well with zoom-in marketing, which is emerging as a key part of companies’ survival strategy in a tough economy. The products include electric fans for babies, cosmetics for soldiers and toothpaste for people with teeth implants.

Taking it a step further than target marketing, which uses broader categories like age or occupation, zoom-in marketing aims for consumers with a higher level of specificity.

This summer, Korean electric fan maker Hanil Electric released a new product exclusively for toddlers. The company yesterday said it sold more than 200,000 units in two months.

Regular fans produce breeze at three levels: strong, medium and gentle. The toddler model also has a hyper-gentle breeze, which attracts parents who worry about the effect of temperature fluctuations on the health of their children. The fan also is quieter and includes a timer that automatically turns it off.

Hypoxi Korea, a weight loss and body shape management service, is a newcomer from Austria that targets different parts of the body, notably the stomach, hips, buttocks and thighs.

Household supplies conglomerate Aekyung developed a toothpaste for people with implants in cooperation with Osstem Implant. It also offers a toothbrush tailored to consumers in their 40s that protects sensitive teeth and helps prevent gum disease.

In response to Korea’s outdoor clothing boom, the company also markets wool shampoo specifically for camping and climbing gear made of waterproof, breathable fabrics. The shampoo was developed with Kolon Sport, a significant player in local outdoor wear market.

“These products target frugal consumers who are trying to care for their clothing at home, instead of taking it to the cleaner,” said Lee Seok-ju, the company’s marketing director.

Foreign men’s cosmetics brands focus on Korean soldiers. Biotherm Homme Korea runs a soldiers-only membership service, in which the company provides product samples - sunblock and blemish balm, also called BB cream - and other small gifts for the 22 months of mandatory military service. Lab Series Korea has a similar strategy, offering gifts on first purchase and free shipping when delivered to military bases.

“Industries divide their target consumers into smaller groups when the overall market is down and companies are short of capital,” said Chun Tae-yoo, an industry and distribution professor at Sejong University.

“Zoom-in marketing aims at certain consumers with common demands, so it spends less. It also enables industries to continue to explore potential new markets by producing many niche products in small quantities.”

Industry experts expect zoom-in marketing to survive, since it maintains high consumer satisfaction and a secure level of purchases, even though profits are typically less compared with selling to a larger customer base.



BY KOO HEE-RYEONG [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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