5 Key Pathways to Growth Only Superconsumers Can Unlock

Superconsumers. If you’re not familiar with the term, you should be able to intuit the meaning of the word.

So who are they? They are passionate, highly engaged—and maybe even a little obsessive about a category, and they pursue their passions with fervor. They’re the sneakerheads who own dozens of pairs of rare or limited-edition sneakers and the bacon-loving consumers who call themselves “pork dorks.” They are emotional buyers who base their purchase decisions on their life aspirations. They aren’t average consumers—they’re Superconsumers.

Superconsumers exist in every category, including yours. While they represent only 10% of total consumers in a given category, Superconsumers drive an impressive 30% to 70% of sales. They are a treasure trove of insights to grow the category by leading non- and light consumers via breakthrough innovation, marketing and retail strategies and business models. Superconsumers can help you play the game better and faster, bend the rules or re-invent the game entirely.

Here are 5 key areas of opportunity that immediately rise to the top.

“True category growth USES Superconsumers to innovate across latent entry, middle and executive jobs to entice new consumers to the category.”

1. Innovation. Superconsumers might know your product or solution better than you. The reason: customers don’t just buy products or services; they “hire” them do to a job. And in this context, a job translates into the progress a person is trying to make in a particular circumstance. Superconsumers can (and do) offer invaluable advice on these jobs and how you can improve your products or services, change your business models, energize cultures and attract new customers to make the job work better for them.

2. Growth. Most companies have a growth strategy that is just stealing shares or pie-splitting, driving industry profit down. Superconsumers help you move away from ‘stealing and splitting’ from competitors to pie-growing, allowing companies to grow their categories or verticals overall. The Superconsumer framework also helps companies create new categories. Research by the Cambridge Group has shown that of the top 100 fastest growing companies, 13% were category creators, and they capture over 50% of incremental revenue growth and over 70% of market cap growth.

3. Gain a multicultural edge. U.S. multicultural buying power is growing at an exponential rate versus total U.S. consumers, increasing from $661 billion in 1990 to $3.4 trillion in 2014. Superconsumers are defined by their demand for multicultural products and services. They are the 5 million Caucasian consumers who are salsa superconsumers and buy $1 billion of Hispanic foods. They are the 85% of non-Asians who are Korean soap opera and drama superconsumers. As a result, most companies vastly underestimate multicultural demand.

4. Early warning system. When we hear of disruption, we imagine an unexpected, unseen force that overwhelms us. But the reality is that companies are rarely blindsided by disruptive category trends. Rather, they miscalculate the speed with which trends become mainstream. Superconsumers can change all this, since they serve as the canary in the coal mine. They are the leading consumers who exhibit behaviors and identify leading markets that are both five to 10 years ahead of the mainstream market. Superconsumers can create a warning system that helps companies anticipate and articulate shifts to make focused bets and capture upside.

5. A new way to think about category growth. When Superconsumers ‘hire’ products for their ‘jobs’, they spend more than the average consumer does, across all types of jobs. Most categories naturally load toward “entry”( mass-marketed products) or executive jobs (aspirational brands). True category growth is found by using Superconsumers to innovate across latent entry, middle and executive jobs to entice new consumers to the category. It’s an opportunity to convert non-consumers into profitable consumers in an entirely new way.

The opportunities presented here are goldmines for category first movers. Will you be the first mover?

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Eddie Yoon is a Principal with The Cambridge Group. Eddie is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on helping companies find and fully monetize Superconsumers: highly passionate and profitable customers to accelerate growth, drive category growth and even create new categories. Linda Deeken is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Cambridge Group. She has been published in Harvard Business Review, among other publications, and has been a key contributor to several books recently released by The Cambridge Group.

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