Political conventions place spotlight on Tampa and Charlotte

August 30, 2012 by Experian Marketing Services

Strike up the band and hold onto your party hat. They’re having a grand celebration in Tampa with an encore performance in Charlotte. It’s the RNC versus the DNC. We’re talking about the respective host cities of the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Tampa is the third largest city in the state of Florida with a population of just over 335,000. Charlotte is over twice the size, with a population of about 750,000. Both cities also host professional football teams. Tampa has the Buccaneers (winners of Super Bowl XXXVII) while Charlotte has the Panthers (still waiting to stage their first Super Bowl parade). Using data from Mosaic® USA, a lifestyle segmentation solution developed by Experian Marketing Services, here is a top-line view of consumer characteristics that make these markets as distinctively different from each other as the party delegates attending the Republican and Democratic conventions.

Tampa: Chock full of free-wheeling boomers and retirees
Compared to the overall U.S. population, Tampa contains a high incidence of consumers over the age of 60. Headlining the over 60 crowd are a mix of newly retired, elderly couples, and widowed individuals leading busy social lifestyles. They’re physically fit for their age, politically active and earn solid incomes from pensions and investments. They’re Footloose and Family Free. Largely concentrated in Florida, nearly eight of every ten of these households contain a grandparent. But they’re more liberal than other senior segments, often voting democratic. The share of Footloose and Family Free households in Tampa is 8.8 times greater than the segment’s corresponding share for the total U.S.

Call them Booming and Consuming, this is a financially fit collection of Baby Boomer couples and singles concentrated in the 50 to 60 year-old age range who are beginning to enjoy the early stages of an empty nest and retirement. These consumers have moderate incomes but sizeable nest eggs. Philanthropic by nature and interested in the arts, they donate money to a variety of causes. They are conservative in their thinking and active in the Republican Party. Think of them as the party backers who are inclined to take a date to the next GOP fundraiser. The share of Booming and Consuming households in Tampa is 5.7 times greater than the segment’s corresponding share for the total U.S.

Golf Carts and Gourmets exemplify the prototypical upscale retirement lifestyle. These senior sophisticates are frequent travelers. They are twice as likely as average Americans to have taken a cruise in recent years. They also like to visit friends and relatives throughout the country. Golf Carts and Gourmets are more of a conservative bastion on political issues. Despite pockets of Liberals and Independents, a majority belong to the Republican Party. Many have a global awareness and give generously to political, educational and cultural groups. The share of Golf Carts and Gourmet households in Tampa is 2.3 times greater than the segment’s corresponding share for the total U.S.

Charlotte: Home portal for the upwardly mobile professional
In contrast to Tampa, Charlotte sports an above average population of younger to middle-age, child-centered and career-driven couples and professionals. Leading the wave is a segment of upscale, family-centric households called Kids and Cabernet. These prosperous middle-aged couples with children are concentrated in the suburbs and live in homes valued at twice the national average. Their neighborhoods are havens for college-educated, white-collar professionals with well-paying jobs in the sciences, education, business and finance. Primarily harboring conservative viewpoints, Kids and Cabernet identify most closely with the Republican Party. The share of Kids and Cabernet households in Charlotte is 3.2 times greater than the segment’s corresponding share for the total U.S.

Found predominantly in major metropolitan areas, Couples with Clout tend to live in downtown neighborhoods or close-in suburbs with immediate access to the central city. Largely free from childrearing costs, with fewer than ten percent having kids, these wealthy couples have high levels of discretionary income to satisfy their upscale tastes. They are well-educated, employed in white-collar and managerial professions, and are always on the lookout to upgrade their living situation. Somewhat progressive in their views, they describe themselves as political Independents. The share of Couples with Clout households in Charlotte is 2.4 times greater than the segment’s corresponding share for the total U.S.

The fast-growing, metro-fringe communities surrounding Charlotte are home to a flourishing population of digitally-savvy professionals. Let’s call them Fast Track Couples. With nine out of every ten householders under age 35, many are first-time home buyers who have settled into new residential developments filled with affordable homes. Most Fast Track Couples are either considering the idea of starting a family or already have pre-school kids at home. Pressed for time and career-focused, they’re not very active politically and have only average rates for being registered to vote. The share of Fast Track Couples households in Charlotte is 2.3 times greater than the segment’s corresponding share for the total U.S.

Winning more votes
As marketers, we are always looking for imaginative ways to target and attract specific audiences. Political candidates know this all too well when on the campaign trail stumping for votes. Whether it’s the Baby Boomer and retiree market that is more prevalent in Tampa or the dynamic, youthful, white collar professional that has settled in Charlotte, each segment of the population has varied preferences, purchase behaviors and motivations to buy. In the world of marketing, consumers settle on a favored brand and then vote with their wallets. Consider taking a consumer “roll call” to determine which segments are most vital (loyal supporters) to ensuring your popularity and which segments lack allegiance (swing customers) to your message. The findings can then provide guidance for developing successful marketing campaign strategies.