From The Jakarta Post

Women growing segment of motorcycle market

Debnath Guharoy,

More bad news for the macho male Indonesian. Of the 35 million motorcycle riders around the country, almost one in four are women. And that figure will continue to grow in the coming years.

As recently as two years ago, motorcycle manufacturers refused to recognize women as potential customers, probably because all the "evidence", like ownership papers, was in the name of males in this male-dominated society. Yet of all the people planning to buy a new motorcycle in the next four years, 43 percent are women.

This is another sign of our times, regardless of male-biased loan or ownership papers. These findings are based on Roy Morgan Single Source, Indonesia's biggest syndicated survey with over 25,000 respondents annually, covering 90 percent of the population over the age of 14, in both urban and rural areas, including the 20 largest cities.

Let's look at the facts, key "dots" to connect from a marketing perspective. The process is the same for any product category, whether it be motorcycles or instant noodles.

First, the Big Picture. Of the 35 million motorcycle riders, 60 percent, or 21 million, are "main riders". That means there are 21 million motorcycles running around the country. Of these eight million are used motorcycles, of which 60 percent are in rural Indonesia. Another 13 million motorcycles were purchased new.

What of the future? Currently, there are seven million people planning to buy a motorcycle across the country. More than three million are women, of whom almost 2.5 million live outside the big cities. To state the obvious, demand can be estimated by province, by urban and rural area, by each of the 20 largest cities.

Then each of the major groups of potential customers, defined by their opinions on motorcycle characteristics and influenced by their attitudes to life itself, can form feasible segments or clusters.

These groups need to be addressed from product design, distribution, pricing and after-sales perspectives. To sharpen the focus from the big picture for the marketing folks, each of these identified groups of prospective customers can be quantified by level of interest and conviction, by brand of motorcycle.

The same groups can be transferred to Roy Morgan Values Segments, an built-in tool that will take, for example, the 371,000 women prospects from "Conventional Family Life" who will "Consider a Yamaha" and directly link them to the Top 10 television programs they "Really Love To Watch". Or the magazines they read, or the shopping malls they visit. Or the things they love to do, aspire to, worry about, other things they buy and so forth. This provides a 360-degree profile of the target consumer, as opposed to a sales director's fictional stereotype or a strategic planner's figment of imagination.

Does that sound like a perfect science, almost? If it does, marketers will be pleased to know that every 90 days return on investments can be measured and analyzed. New converts and switchers can be quantified and qualified, so further fine-tuning needs can be identified, actions taken and monitored cyclically, by all the stakeholders talking one common language.

Finding that common language for all the stakeholders of a brand, whether a motorcycle or instant noodles, is no longer impossible.

The only barriers are mental. By bringing down those barriers, less money will be squandered. Shareholders will win, so will the consumer when better choices are presented more appropriately. Then the old market dynamics will change.

Great marketers and advertising professionals can turn a historical trend on its head. To create history, it's wise to understand history. It's time we stopped mouthing the buzzwords, stopped outwitting the less-knowledgeable with shallow versions of the truth. It's time to get real.

Ever wondered why there are more set-top boxes for television audience measurement in Melbourne than there are in all of Indonesia? Despite which, the TV stations there use two target audience measurement tools today. More on that topic, next week.

While costs will remain a limiting factor in Indonesia for many years, the amount of money being spent on advertising, without accountability, has got to be high by any yardstick. Available knowledge needs to be used, not buried because of hidden agendas or plain ignorance. Though I never worked for that global agency, I always liked their motto: "Truth Well Told."

The contributor is an advertising professional turned researcher and consultant based in Melbourne. He has lived and worked across the Asia-Pacific region, including Indonesia. He remains a regular visitor to the country.
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