Are You Blinded by the Heavy (Buyer) – Or Are You Seeing the Light?

Jenni Romaniuk

Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia

Have you ever felt overlooked, neglected, and ignored, even though you make an important contribution?

Let me introduce you to the light buyer, someone who feels the same way. Heavy buyers are the darlings of the marketing world. Everybody loves them: They buy lots, they usually know all about the brand, they join our Facebook pages, and they even speak well of the brand in surveys. Many of our marketing activities—loyalty programs, for instance—are designed to appeal to them (Wansink and Park, 2000; Sharp, 2010). If we could, we would clone them.

Has this adoration of heavy buyers blinded us to who is really fueling our brands’ market share? Even though light buyers buy only once or twice in a year, examine most packaged-goods brands’ customer base and you will find that these light buyers make up a large, if not the largest, segment of buyers.