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Research Reveals Differences Between Coastal, Inland Leaders

Research Reveals Differences Between Coastal, Inland Leaders

East County Residents Purchase American Cars; La Jollans Prefer Benzes, According to Marketer


Chances are great that two executives with similar profiles, but one living near Mount Soledad and the other on Mount Helix, have very different tastes in cars.

That’s just one of the many insights marketers must have in order to start a successful marketing campaign, said Jim Tindaro, the chief executive officer of Advanced Marketing Strategies, a San Diego-based marketing firm.

Tindaro has done decades of research on the cars executives prefer on behalf of such clients as Mossy Nissan and City Chevrolet.

He explained the residents living in the affluent areas of Mount Soledad in La Jolla and Mount Helix in La Mesa may be similar in terms of their income, educational background, occupation and family makeup, but differ wildly in their preferred lifestyle.

His research suggests people living on Mount Helix are more traditionally based, buy American cars, and vacation in locations within the United States, such as on an upscale ranch in Montana.

Families living in Mount Soledad, by contrast, tend to be more active, prefer foreign cars, and take trips to Europe, he said.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of marketing research on these areas, he said.

For the architects of advertising campaigns, the more layers they can peel back on the onion, as Tindaro puts it, the better their chances for success.

Marketing The Differences

“If you can afford to drive a Cadillac, you can certainly afford to drive a Mercedes , knowing what the differences are and how to use and market the differences makes a marketing campaign successful,” he said.

If a Mercedes-Benz dealer is launching a campaign, the likely target audience lives in La Jolla, while the Cadillac dealer is better off focusing on East County.

Tindaro said that by simply driving through a neighborhood, marketers gain tons of clues.

“The neighborhood is an expression of people’s lifestyle and knowing people’s lifestyle can determine the probability of what cars (they drive),” he found.

It’s no accident that people living on the same street tend to drive the same types of cars.

Neighborhood Values

“If you move into a neighborhood, it’s because of a certain set of values , the issue is much deeper than wanting a sense of belonging,” he said.

Looks can be deceiving, though.

He gave the example of the world’s richest man, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, who insists on flying coach, takes the subway to work and drives a 10-year-old Volvo.

And, according to an article in Fortune magazine, the Swede also shuns business suits.

Granted, Kamprad is an anomaly in the billionaires club. Yet, he’s not alone.

There are still millionaires next door who prefer to stay incognito.

Geography Matters

Research suggests that geography matters when it comes to people’s preferences.

In Southern California, the affluent are known for “showing it all” , hence, the propensity of luxury cars on freeways and pricey neighborhoods.

Midwesterners and Southerners, by contrast, tend to pooh-pooh the exports in favor of everything red, white and blue.

The most valuable information comes directly from consumers, Tindaro said.

That goes for cars, too.


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