A few years ago fashion designers and editorial started labeling collections between summer and fall with “pre-fall” to acknowledge a need state for consumers to bridge the light fabrics and colors before Labor Day with the beginning of colder weather. What I’ve been noticing lately across other industries is how the notion of “pre” state insights is opening up marketing opportunities for hyper-targeted messages and products.
The other day I saw a commercial for Zicam that talked about how to avoid a “pre-cold.” What. Is. That. But of course, after I got over the ridiculousness of the marketing tactic, I realized that many people share the foreboding of a cold and can feel it before it happens, so it make sense that tapping into that dread could open up opportunities for new products and/or more tailored messaging.
What are some other industries that might take advantage of this “pre” need state?
Beauty: they have long been doing preparative and anticipatory tactics. Healthy and beautiful hair is one thing, but fighting pre-breakage? Let’s go. We want to avoid split ends and weak hair, so let’s talk that.
Finance: we know we want retirement funds to grow over time, but what about our investments for “living the life” pre-retirement. Yes, that “pre-retirement” account is coming to an investment fund near you.
Food: what snack maker doesn’t want to encourage more noshing. We already have the idea of pre-gaming, where presumably you indulge in nachos and beer before you have more nachos and beer. Well, pre-lunch or pre-dinner are two ways to talk about filling the gap before the big meal with something that will stave off hunger but not substitute a meal.
Retail: it is only a matter of time when we have a pre-Christmas shopping season. I realize that anything before December 25 already qualifies, but since last year stores started Black Friday early, consumers started avoiding lines by going online. It’s only a matter of time when the pre-Christmas period starts right after Halloween.
Any company looking to create a new need state that can later be used to sell more need should only look at what anxieties people have or things they try to avoid. For those hypochondriac or disaster scenario planners, “pre” products offer a world of solutions to problems because many are untapped insights that marketers can use to their advantage.