A young woman writes on a whiteboard while her team sits at a table in the background.To sell a product, the savvy marketer gets inside the customers’ heads. It’s not enough to offer a superior product or a bargain price. The successful business understands what motivates different types of customers to spend and how to reach those customers.

An article on the blog Neuromarketing breaks down customers into three broad types:*

  • The Frugal Spender: The frugal spender feels pain in anticipation of buyer’s remorse, and so will not spend money without an exceptional reason. Frugal spenders are planners, and they are looking for a good deal. They do not respond to messages of luxury or indulgence. Instead, they respond to messages of the potential pain or loss if they don’t take an opportunity. Frugal spenders also respond to information-heavy pitches. They need to be shown the product is worth it.
  • The Spendthrift: Spendthrifts are the easy sale because they experience pleasure from the act of buying. Spendthrifts aren’t worried about price or practicality. They respond best to pictures, colors, and emotional language. The caution is that this is the opposite of frugal spenders, and spendthrifts are a smaller percentage of the population. Advertising has to be carefully targeted to bring in these sales without alienating the frugal spenders.
  • The Average Spenders: Most customers reside somewhere in the murky middle. They have a rough budget to keep track of their spending but may occasionally impulse buy. Average spenders tend to consider the data, weighing up pros and cons. As such, average spenders respond to a mix of the emotional appeal that gets the spendthrift and the logical appeal that gets the more frugal. Average spenders are especially susceptible to “extras,” such as bonuses, warranties, and guarantees.

Reaching customers in a crowded marketplace can be challenging. That is why Walden University offers an MS in Marketing. The online master’s degree program offers lessons in how to spread a message, where to reach customers, and what are the most effective advertising approaches. This program is meant for traditional marketers trying to improve their skills as well as specialists who want a broader understanding of the forces at play.


*Dooley, R.; The 3 Types of Buyers, and How to Optimize for Each One, on the internet at www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/3-types-buyers.htm#.

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