To all bikers, what kind of customer are you?

It was with great interest that I read the comments and feedback on my previous blog “would you ride an electric bike to save the motorcycle industry?”. There were some brilliantly insightful questions and debates, as well as some very clear “yes or no” positions. And this all reminded me of an article I read a while ago (around 2008 actually) on the bizcommunity website, which discussed Synovate’s Customer Profile Tool and different customer profiles, and it was an interesting way to illustrate how different we as customers can be. The context of this research was the customer satisfaction space, but it seems to have resonated very strongly in the retail space as well. It all actually seems quite logical and can still be applied today.

In brief here are the 5 segments, from largest to smallest:

  1. Traditionalists (26,6%)
  2. Family-Focused (25%)
  3. Enthusiasts (20,2%)
  4. Trendsetters (17%)
  5. A-B’er’s (11,2%)

Traditionalists make up the largest share of the market, and this is the customer looking for the traditional and conservative environment, nothing too flashy or over-the-top.

Family-Focused clients are the sensible and rational people, taking into account all of the factors in the decision, their budget has to be spread between all the sensible places like groceries and school fees before grown-ups’ toys.

Enthusiasts are the fanatics about the product, the experience and the brand. They are the passionate ones, the people who eat, live, sleep, drink, breath their passion.

Trendsetters are those who want the latest and greatest, the newest and shiniest. Image is one of the prime motives here, and these are often the early-adopters of new technology. An example here would be the iPhone. When it was launched back in 2007 only the early adopters took to it, but the rapidity of acceptance by the overall market was spectacular.

A-B’ers and those “transactional” clients, and in the automotive environment these are the people who just need an appliance to get them from point A to Point B, nothing fancy, just sensible, reliable and cost-effective.

Bearing this in mind, it seems like the previous blog was able to generate a response from almost all of these segments. Early adopters and trendsetters are willing and eager to try something new, whereas enthusiasts are much happier with their existing experience, their environment and their passion continuing on unabated.

At this point I want to acknowledge that there is no right or wrong segment to fall into. Each of us is programmed differently and we resonate with different elements in our lives. It is also worth acknowledging though that the person on the motorbike next to you might have bought it for a completely different reason to you. My third acknowledgment is how special the motorcycle people are: for although we are all different the motorcycle bond is able to cross all of these categories and we tip our helmet and raise our hand to all bikers, of all types, on any kind of motorcycle.

So, the purpose of this blog is to ask some questions. Have you ever thought about what kind of customer you are? What are you buying and why? Take a moment to think about it and remember that its perfectly normal to think the way you think, to say what you say and to feel the way you feel.

To link it to the electric motorcycle topic again, at this stage of its development the electric bike is very far from a mainstream proposition and only the few of us would be willing to give it a try. The research above indicates that it’s about 17% of us motorcyclists, and the response to the blog seems to back it up. Basically, the electric bike isn’t for everyone, but some of us are keen to give it a try. As it becomes more and more mainstream, more affordable and more accepted more of us will probably buy.

And gosh, there are many, many, many enthusiasts who read ZA Bikers. And the great news is that you, the enthusiast, will always ensure that the passion for the current bike, with its noise, emotion, passion and excitement will live on forever.