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Comm Effectively Inside The Minds Mn Symp 10 08

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A description of the psychographics of smokers based on Porter Novelli Styles data for 2008

A description of the psychographics of smokers based on Porter Novelli Styles data for 2008


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  • If our goal is to increase the number of smokers who decide to quit, we have to understand just who our customer is – what are the attributes of our target audience What makes smokers different from nonsmokers? How can this understanding guide us in reaching smokers with cessation services and products? This presentation will help us look at smokers psychograhpically. Smokers have traditionally been segmented in a number of ways like age, race or income. Here, we’re looking broadly at attitudes and trends in their behavior. Ultimately, this can help us see how they relate to their own smoking addiction and how they can be reached to quit. All of the data I will discuss have come from Porter Novelli’s ConsumerStyles 2008 database of 10,108 adults, including 1.793 smokers.
  • An interesting trend among smokers is how differently they perceive and welcome risk vs. the general population. Smoking is often linked to people considered high sensation seekers. In this instance, sensation relates to drug use (including tobacco), risky sexual behavior, and other choices that can threaten health. According to our data, only 38% of smokers said they do everything they can to stay healthy. Which means that nearly 2/3 don’t. We hear from smokers that they are more interested in the immediate gratifications of life rather than long term health benefits.
  • Even with all we know about the dangers of smoking, just over half of smokers believe their current use of cigarettes is a threat to their health. And 60 percent of smokers feel that living life in the best possible health is very important to them, with a 15% difference between them and nonsmokers. It’s therefore not surprising that smokers do not view their physicians as partners in managing their health. And only slightly more than half of smokers (56%) feel they have a good relationship with their health care provider, when 69% of nonsmokers do. The point is that smokers do not view their doctors in the most positive of lights.
  • So, what do smokers think about themselves? While being healthy is not as important to smokers, looking healthy is. This may seem counterintuitive since we all know what smoking does to the skin in particular, but sensation seeking characteristics may give more insight here as well. Logic is outweighed by a stronger drive for satisfaction. Smokers are concerned with how people view them, but how do they view themselves? When asked to describe their own personality traits: More often than nonsmokers, Smokers feel they are adventurous Smokers feel they are youthful, creative – and they see themselves more often as trendsetters. And they surround themselves with other likeminded people. 51% of smokers have many friends (down 3% from last year) who smoke compared to 12% of nonsmokers. And these strong social influences can make it harder to quit. These are not people who feel they are part of the mainstream crowd.
  • When it comes to religion and spirituality, there’s also a wide gap between smokers and non smokers. Smokers participate less in religious activities than non smokers. And fewer smokers consider them religious than nonsmokers. This may be another indicator of their “live in the present” mentality.
  • Similarly, smokers’ media tastes reflect a value on things outside the mainstream. Smokers listen to more hard rock music and alternative rock. They certainly aren’t Celine Dione fans. They more regularly go to bars and nightclubs than non smokers. Obviously the tobacco companies know this because they’ve done so many events to entice smokers in bars. And smokers play a lot more video games.
  • And since smokers are not at church or the synagogue, we wanted to see how they spend their leisure time. Smokers clearly enjoy being part of social activities that inherently involve risk. There is about a 10% spread between smokers and nonsmokers in terms of gambling, playing cards, and buying lottery tickets. Taking risks are just a part of smokers’ lives.
  • So what does all of this information tell us about smokers as customers and what does it mean for helping design products and services to help them quit. Many smokers say they are just tired of people telling them what they should do about quitting. So how do we begin to break through? First, we need to know where smokers are going for information. A primary place seems to be the Internet, and that is fairly consistent with nonsmokers as well. However we also know that they are listening to their loved ones. Again, these are people who view themselves as individuals. They look for information on their own first and then turn to people close to them. Their doctors are still a major source of information, but how they respond to that information source is what is critical here.
  • What do we know about those who say they want to quit? Only 10% of smokers say they never expect to quit. 38% expect to quit in the next six months and the majority, 51% expect to quit in the future but are not sure when.
  • So what does this mean for reaching smokers? In short, for those who are still smoking, the medical model really doesn’t work. To capture the attention and minds of most smokers, they need to see quitting as a lifestyle choice, just as smoking is a lifestyle choice. Health campaigns that have been effective in the past may not work as well with current generations of smokers, and certainly not younger smokers. We can take a page from the tobacco companies. Big tobacco has not been selling cigarettes. They’ve been selling lifestyles and image – sexy women finding their own voice in Virginia Slims, rugged independence and freedom in the Marlboro Man. We have to do the same with cessation products and services. Again, think about the customer – who is our audience and how to we appeal to that audience. We really have not done that. We need to develop novel approaches that connect being smoke free with the way smokers actually live. It must appeal to their lifestyles. They aren’t going to buy a medical answer to what they see as a lifestyle pleasure. We need to connect being smoke-free with how smokers actually want to live.
  • Great progress has been made in the last 50 years, and there have been enormous victories. But going forward, we must gain a deeper understanding of our target audience and use the social media tools effectively. For the smokers who haven’t been moved, and for the people who will start smoking tomorrow, we have to make it clear that giving up cigarettes does not have to mean giving up who you are.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Communicating Effectively: Inside the Minds and Habits of Smokers Kathryn Kahler Vose October 2008 Data presented from the Porter Novelli 2008 ConsumerStyles Database unless otherwise noted.
    • 2. Inside the Minds of Smokers
      • Risk
        • Smokers are high sensation seekers.*
        • Smokers are more interested in living now instead of living longer .
        • Only 38% of smokers said they do everything they can to stay healthy compared to 58% of nonsmokers.
      *Donohew, et al. Personality and Risky Behavior: Communication and prevention. Elsevier Science, 2004.
    • 3. Inside the Minds of Smokers
      • Health
        • Only 55% of smokers believe their current cigarette use is a threat to their health.
        • 60% of smokers agree that living life in the best possible health is very important to them compared to 75% of nonsmokers.
        • Smokers do not view their doctors as partners in their health care.
    • 4. Inside the Minds of Smokers
      • Physical Appearance
        • Looking healthy is important to 70% of smokers.
      • Self Profile
        • Smokers perceive themselves as more adventurous, more youthful, more creative, and more romantic.
        • They feel they are trendsetters.
        • They surround themselves with other “trendsetters.”
    • 5. Inside the Habits of Smokers
      • Religion/Spirituality
        • Smokers participate less in religious activities than nonsmokers (15% v. 29%).
        • Only 25% of smokers consider themselves religious compared to 41% of nonsmokers.
    • 6. Inside the Habits of Smokers
      • On the Edgier Side
        • Only 11% of smokers listen to Religious/Gospel music compared to 20% of nonsmokers.
        • 25% of smokers listen to Hard Rock compared to 12% of nonsmokers.
        • 27% of smokers regularly go to bars or nightclubs v. 13% of nonsmokers.
        • 29% of smokers regularly play video games v. 18% of smokers.
    • 7. Inside the Habits of Smokers
      • Playing the Odds
        • Gambling (27% v. 16%)
        • Playing Cards (43% v. 33%)
        • Lottery Tickets/Scratch-Offs (37% v. 23%)
    • 8. What does this mean for helping smokers quit?
      • Do they think they need help? If so, where do they go?
        • 27% of smokers say that “when it comes to new health information, I am tired of people telling me what to do.”
        • Primary media source for health information is the Internet (47%) followed by magazines (26%) and television (18%).
        • Considering all sources, smokers say they regularly use doctors (72%), up considerably from previous years, television (47%), their families (42%), and the Internet (42%) to find answers to their health questions.
    • 9. What does this mean for helping smokers quit?
      • Do they want to quit? When?
        • 10% say they never expect to quit.
        • 38% expect to quit in the next six months.
        • 51% expect to quit in the future, but are not sure when.
        • From 2007 ConsumerStyles Data
    • 10. What does this mean for reaching smokers?
      • Change the Why
        • Health fairs and physician outreach may not be as effective with this group as a whole.
        • Novel or “trendy” approaches may attract and hold their attention.
      • Lifestyle Appeal
        • Smoking is not a health issue to smokers, it is a lifestyle choice.
        • Quitting smoking is seen as a loss rather than a gain.
        • The social benefits to quitting may resonate with smokers.
    • 11. Looking Ahead
      • Great progress to inform the public about the dangers of smoking and many have quit as a result of health messaging.
      • For those not yet reached, audiences should be approached as consumers.
        • Know and understand your target audience and customize your messages.
        • Use social media as appropriate.