Healthy Choices

April 26, 2018
Marketing water filtration to the health-conscious consumer

About the author: Dale Filhaber is president of Dataman Group Direct. Filhaber can be reached at [email protected] or 800.771.3282.

The water quality industry should position quality water as the cornerstone of a quality life. To be successful, dealers should market that sentiment to the audience most likely to understand and believe it: the health-conscious consumers. Current trends are pointing to increased consumer awareness of health- and wellness-consciousness. This change is fueling the food and beverage industry—which includes water quality—to make shifts in the way it markets products.

Changing Values

Leading to this change are many factors that continue to form new markets of consumer-focused healthcare products and needs—including consumer awareness of health issues, greater focus on fitness, higher personal incomes, and the visibility of 24/7 news, which continues to highlight contaminants, lead pipes and other problems with tap water quality.

Consumer healthcare is a $502 billion market that will grow nearly 50%, to $737 billion, over the next five years. Statistics show that this growth will primarily be driven by preventive health and wellness products that do not require a prescription. Health-focused consumers, products and categories, such as vitamins, nutrition, weight management, and fortified foods and beverages will see the biggest increase in sales.

According to a recent article by Store Brands, the baby boomer generation controls about 70% of U.S. disposable income and currently drives the demand for healthful food and beverage products. Although the pursuit of healthy living is not unique to boomers, it is the initiative taken by aging boomers to create a new way of living based on the pursuit of not just well-being, but also being well that has driven permanent changes in America food culture and healthy living.

The trends for 2018 are:

  • Marketing towards health-conscious individuals;
  • Marketing “natural” products; and
  • Marketing preventive solutions that do not need a prescription.

So, how do you position quality water as a consumer-focused better-for-you healthcare product?

The 2017 Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Consumer Opinion Study reported that nearly 70% of buyers indicated that the reason they bought a water treatment system was healthy lifestyle, improving the quality of their family’s life and a concern about general well-being.

Consumers continue to be concerned about contaminants in water, food and air. The study also shows that consumers would be willing to pay for a water filtration system that removes contaminants, lead, arsenic, pharmaceuticals and biological waste.

What the study does not focus on is the basic, common-sense statement that in order to live a better-quality life, people need to drink better-quality water. The same health-conscious consumer who is concerned about the vitamins they take and the food they eat, also is concerned about the water they drink.

Consumer Identification

Because dealers cannot afford to market to everyone, they need to be as selective as they can and market to the top buyers of water filtration and softening systems. In 2018, the top buyers are the health-conscious consumers. These are individuals who lead a wellness-oriented lifestyle and are concerned with nutrition, fitness, stress, their environment, and the health and well-being of themselves and their families.

Dealers can buy direct mail lists of health-conscious consumers from many quality list providers who compile this data from surveys, websites, purchases and a variety of other sources. Telephone numbers, email address appending and Facebook matching also are available for dealers who want to market to this group using multiple marketing channels. Reaching this group through more than one marketing channel is important for branding, impact and increased response.

Dealers who want to fine-tune their marketing and focus on narrower segments also can break out sub-groups of the health-conscious consumer and reach out to them with messaging and offers specifically for them. Many dealers find that by focusing on a smaller audience, they can create precise messaging, emphasize their top media channels, and concentrate on building their brand and name recognition to that specific group.

When it comes to health-conscious consumers, the key sub-groups are:

  • Baby boomers;
  • Families with children;
  • Parents of new babies;
  • Female decision makers;
  • Ailment sufferers;
  • Senior adults; and
  • Millennials.

Messaging Tips

Whichever segment you choose, the ultimate message is about health and wellness, stressing quality water as the cornerstone of a quality life.

Baby boomers. Think affluent homeowners who are conscious of health and exercise, and aware of the need for personal hydration. WQA studies show that they also are very concerned about rust stains affecting the appearance of their homes.

Families with children. The 2015 WQA Consumer Opinion Study revealed that 32% of the buyers of water filtration systems were families with children. They are the dealer’s No. 1 group of prospective buyers. The message is about the future of their children’s health and well-being.

Parents of new babies. This is a small, identifiable market. All parents want to do the best they can to provide the healthiest environment for their new babies.

Female decision makers. The Chicago Tribune reported that 80% of home improvement decisions are made by women. Dealers can respond to this with a compelling message tailored for them. For example, deliver the message that great-looking skin and hair starts with great water.

Ailment sufferers. The 2017 WQA study pointed out that 37% of water softener buyers did so because they were concerned about eczema and skin irritants. Dealers in hard water markets should definitely reach out to eczema and psoriasis sufferers.

Senior adults. Educate and inform this cohort, providing healthy living tips for a quality life. Many dealers who are in senior community markets often share tips from AARP and partner with a local medical center.

Millennials. They are conscious of their health, environment and social responsibility. They may not be your customer today, but as they begin to buy homes and start families, they will be your customer tomorrow. Messaging is social. Think FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

By positioning quality water as the cornerstone of a quality life, dealers can stop marketing fear and focus on the most up-to-date trends of healthy lifestyles and hope for the future. 

About the Author

Dale Filhaber

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