Tribal marketing is not a new term in the marketing world, but it’s becoming increasingly more important as tribes increasingly make up more of the market. Traditionally, marketers thought of segments primarily in terms of demographics and geography, and secondarily in terms of psychographics (the classification of people according to their behaviors, attitudes, and interests). However, as consumption cultures globalize and technology brings more personalized data, brands must reevaluate audience development and brand positioning to these audiences.

Get started with GROWL’s take on tribal marketing.

What is tribal marketing?

Tribal marketing is a way to group consumers beyond traditional demographics. Rather than lumping audiences by their age or gender, this type of marketing identifies audiences based on collective behaviors, interests, attitudes, and lifestyles. In today’s world of marketing, marketers see modern, digital tribes that maintain a shared mindset and are connected through social media platforms.

Finding your tribe

As brands shift further way from basic demographic/geodemographic segmentation, big data and in-depth insights are critical. Today’s technology, especially from social media platforms and other user-driven servers, offers brands a wealth of information that can be used to cultivate communities and personalized marketing collateral. For example, data can track interests based on what posts a user likes on Facebook or their purchasing behavior per location.

When brands know their consumers and offer personalized communications, deals, and loyalty programs, they are connecting on a higher level. Customers want to connect with brands while building relationships; in fact, Gallup found that brands that utilize behavioral insights outperform their competitors by 85% in sales growth and over 25% in sales margin. Today, many of these marketing relationship connections occur online.

Digital tribes

Beyond reference groups and traditional tribes, marketers must focus on how consumers interact online. Such interactions include a brand focus on niche qualities, interests, and behaviors of those who make up their audience or brand communities. For example, Jeep is notorious for tribal marketing. The brand doesn’t market to a gender or age range, it considers its consumption group as outdoors enthusiasts and challengers of the status quo. Beyond the purchase, Jeep has created a community of loyalists who attend events and spark friendships via Facebook groups, all while maintaining Jeep’s subculture of consumption.

The idea of digital tribes is accentuated in Facebook’s recent Super Bowl ad about their groups, where Facebook groups from across the nation, show various age ranges connecting over a shared behavior, interest, or lifestyle. Here, Facebook gave a face to tribes. The key to tribal marketing is understanding that psychographics is foundational when developing data-driven audiences. This growth of digital tribes brings significant implications, especially for younger generations.

Getting tribal with Millennials & Gen Z

In recent years, the generation namesake of “Millennials” has been nearly synonymous with “younger people.” While this generalization is innately inaccurate, it also exposes a greater need for tribal marketing. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, are two of the most diverse generations (not to mention the micro-generation of cuspers). From the vast age ranges to the differing experiences and values, the nearly 4.7 billion Millennials and Gen Z-ers across the world do not share the same mindsets; thus, they can’t be marketed to linearly – a key reason to why demographics are becoming outdated.

Throughout the early 2020s, these two generations will dominate global purchasing power and seek brands that offer personalized experiences and value-adding connections. Consider tribal marketing as marketing to runners or book clubs, regardless of age and gender.

Brands have the opportunity to leverage digital data and cultivate communities based on behaviors, interests, attitudes, and lifestyles. By shifting marketing focus from traditional demographics to in-depth, qualitative segmentation, brands will achieve greater outcomes, including the all-important heightened loyalty.

Need a hand finding your brand’s tribe? Contact GROWL today.