How Can Companies Target the Different Family Life Cycles of an Individual?

Companies have understood that acquiring new consumers is much costlier than retaining old ones. In today’s cutthroat environment, a business can only succeed in the long run when it has a loyal customer base. New companies that can offer similar and sometimes identical products to consumers at a low cost are born every day. Globalization has made the competition even worse. Hence, companies are now becoming the brand of the household by providing the consumer with products that they will need at every stage of their life cycle. In this article, we will be understanding the various family life cycle stages that a consumer or an individual goes through in their life and how companies can adjust themselves to meet this need of their consumers.

The Family Life Cycle Stages

Though in a joint family, all the stages of the family life cycle are clearly visible and the roles are changed with the passing of time or the deaths of individuals, for the sake of theoretical clarity, we will be starting the phases with bachelorhood and ending with dissolution.

  • Bachelorhood − This is a stage where an individual has completed his college degree and has started earning. Individuals generally tend to move out of or are planning to move out of their parent’s house. This section majorly spends on items like clothing, entertainment, cars, and travel. Marketers can target this set of consumers on different social media platforms, including dating sites, restaurants, cafes, pubs, coffee shops, and others. It is important for marketers to understand that this set of individuals is looking to live their lives to the fullest and, hence, offer them products or services that relate to them or something that they would need. For example, the chandelier companies will not have many interested consumers in this phase of life.

  • Honeymooners − This is the stage for newlyweds or live-in couples. These people are young and educated individuals. Generally, in today’s scenario, we see that both partners are earning. It is a great segment for marketers of home furnishings, home décor, traveling companies, and financial advisors. These couples would want to set up their own new world, and hence we see a considerable amount of expense incurred by these people.

  • Parenthood − This is the longest stage of the family life cycle. This phase generally lasts for 20 years but may increase because of the number of children a couple decides to have. This stage is also known as the "full nest stage." This stage can be further divided into smaller phases for the marketers to better target their audience. The stages are

  • Pre-school phase − The child is in the utmost care of the parent. Generally, one parent stops working in this phase. The family income decreases and savings are utilized more. The parents spend a lot on baby care products and less on travel and entertainment.

    • Elementary Phase − The child starts going to school and the parent to their work location. The needs of the parents revolve around the needs of the child, but the care and time invested by parents are reduced. Income comes in at the previous level.

    • High school phase − the child grows up, and the parents do well in their respective jobs. The amount that they earn is higher, and they can spend it on travel and leisure activities again.

    • College phase − The child is fully grown up and is planning to move out. Couples are now left with a lot of free time and money to spend as they wish.

  • Postparenthood − This stage is also known as the empty nest stage. Here, the parents are either liberated because of all the freedom and financial stability or depressed because of the empty house. Couples in this stage spend mostly on luxurious items, long, faraway vacations, and houses in different locations. They start spending and getting more involved in social events. In this stage, they are mostly making up for the lost years. Couples are financially stable and are looking forward to the arrival of their grandchildren as well.

  • Dissolution − At this point, one of the partners has died. The surviving spouse looks for financial and emotional stability in this phase of life. Dating applications, adult diapers, various ointments, and others can target this segment of the population. It is generally observed that women live longer than men.

Marketers also have to understand that these stages of family life will be more applicable in countries like India, China, South Korea, and Japan but less so in countries like the United States or France. The reason behind this is the individualistic societal approach, in which "I" matters the most to individuals, and because of the disoriented families.

Some examples of prominent companies that understood the different family life cycle phases and used them to advertise and market their products are

  • Britannia Biscuits − The brand understood that the taste buds of an individual change as he moves through different stages of life. The company started umbrella branding. introduced many brands under the name of Britannia, which would target different consumers

    • Tiger Biscuits − Creamy and tasty treats for kids

    • Nutri Choice Biscuits − For the post-parenthood and dissolution stage, when the consumers are mostly looking out for their health.

    • Good Day Biscuits, Nice Time Biscuits, and Crackers − These are for the parenthood stage, where customers want to explore the various subtle stages of life.

    • Pure Magic Biscuits and Little Heart Biscuits − For the young adults who would give the most weight to the packaging, taste, and feel of the product.

Though the consumers do not always run in this particular order and would change from one biscuit to another as per their taste buds, the positioning of the products has been done by the brand in this manner. Even when you see advertisements, as in the case of Tiger Biscuits, the brand ambassador is a cartoon figure; for Good Day Biscuits, it is a housewife who is also a mom; and so on.

  • Titan − The company understood that individuals will be wearing watches throughout their entire life cycle, but the only thing that will differ is the style that they prefer. Having all the varieties under one umbrella seemed too chaotic, and the consumers will be confused regarding the standing of the brand. The company introduced different brands under it, like Nebula, Sonata, Fastrack, Titan Corporates, and others, to target consumers in different family life cycle phases.

  • Gillette Razors − The company understood that bachelors are very reluctant when it comes to shaving. Hence, the company organized a survey in collaboration with Tinder, where men were asked to participate in a survey to see if the number of matches they receive with a clean shave is higher than their bearded look. The survey went in favor of the company, and an increase in the volume of sales was the result.

When consumers enter different stages of the family life cycle, their needs, perceptions, income status, family size, and age change. To sell their products, marketers have to not only understand the different phases of the family life cycle but also the applicability of the same in different countries and states. Brands have to position themselves as someone who can help the consumer solve all their problems. The brand of a household must be the aim of every thriving brand.