Understanding the Natural Product Buyer: 3 Unique Personas
Here at 360 Market Reach, we’ve had a long history working with many natural and organic focused brands. In 2012, (based on what we’ve heard from our Market Research customers) we created360 Natural Market, a Market Research Online Community. This research community, enables brands to gain quick-turn insights into this segment. Having a dedicated group of these people, provides insight into what makes these customers tick and allows brand to best address their ever-evolving needs. Since then, we’ve been able to create an ongoing dialogue about all things related to health, wellness, natural and organic living.
Today our proprietary 360 Natural Market Research Community is filled with thousands of consumers across the United States. They are focused on purchasing products in the natural or organic sector in at least one product category including: food, beverage, personal care, beauty, baby products and others. Throughout the years and hundreds of studies that we’ve conducted, we’ve learned quite a few things about this group such as the many behavioral and attitudinal patterns that evolve across categories. One aspect which we were able to zone in on is truly understanding the ways in which new consumers enter the Natural Organic Market and how they evolve.
Today, we’re diving into the 3 unique personas in the Natural Product Buyer category. As we go through these three different attitudes and perspectives, we hope to provide clarity into helping brands market appropriately to these unique customers.
Optimistic but Confused
This audience segment are people who are very early on in their natural/organic quest. They are committed on making healthier choices for themselves and their families, but not yet dived into the learning and discipline needed to fully achieve a healthier lifestyle. They likely haven’t done the full research and their due diligence on product offerings and the reasoning into why they need to make these healthy choices. Some of these consumers are paying more attention to trends such as the latest diets like Whole30, Paleo, etc. These consumers react quickly to marketing claims of all-natural, made with whole grains, good source of “important nutrient”, gluten-free, etc. They’re reading labels but not yet armed with enough information to sort out marketing positioning from actual health benefits. They initially feel very good about their choices but get frustrated when they start to read articles or talk to friends/family about misleading information.
Motivated and Learning
This second group takes it one step further. They have a greater knowledge about specific ingredients and have learned enough to help them make better choices. They seek out very specific key words and phrases that they know and feel confident are healthy options for themselves and their families. They are still frustrated by the abundance of conflicting information out there and the lack of regulation on what marketers can say about products. Often, it’s easier for these consumers to avoid glaringly harmful ingredients rather than look for specific health benefits. As an example, for beauty products, they look for claims like paraben-free, no phthalates or free from synthetic fragrances.
Informed and Determined
Often, the informed group of consumers first step is to completely simplify their nutrition and healthy eating habits and cut ties with unhealthy options. They look for products with simple “clean” ingredient lists without any additional ingredients included at all. They feel that smaller brands specializing in natural and/or organic can often be more beneficial than larger, national brands making bold claims. These people are buying across multiple categories for themselves and their families from food to household items to beauty. In some categories and stores, these products are challenging to find so these consumers start to research and also start to develop home-made alternatives. As these consumers progress in their knowledge, they evangelize to others and continue to spread the word about not only the benefits, but also the negative aspects that can happen with artificial ingredients. They are surprised to find out how many other people are not following the same practices and are “harming” themselves through the consumption of toxic ingredients. These people will go out of their way to ensure what they are putting into their body and their household are healthy and natural, including spending a lot of time and money to ensure that this is the case.
The natural and organic landscape and it’s consumers are always evolving as new alternatives become available and the demand grows. These three consumer types help simplify the complicated consumer journey to a greater degree but are clearly not all encompassing. The rapid growth of plant-based proteins, the introduction of CBD oil into many products and the growth of alternative fats are just a few of the new avenues opening up to consumers. As this market evolves, brands need to keep a pulse on exactly what consumers want so as to market their products effectively and evolve and innovate their product offerings accordingly.
For greater insight into our 360 Natural Market Community, download our Infographic below which outlines additional dynamics of the Natural/Organic Consumer.