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5 Degrees of Consumer Sophistication 

 November 10, 2013

By  Gavriel Shaw

Gene Schwartz nailed 5 stages of market sophistication which helped my approach to strategic marketing to no end.

And I’ve just brainstormed an equivalent for consumer sophistication that considers the consumer a little more directly.

Which stage are your customers at? How do you appeal to them? Do you turn other customers off? What can you do to appeal to other customer segments?

5 Degrees of Consumer Sophistication

  1. Naive consumer – New to market – eager for big promises. The bigger the promise the better. “Lose 100lb in 7 days without diet or exercise!”. At this stage they’ll be lucky to select a product that works for them.
  2. Hopeful consumer – Aware of options – hopeful about purchases but impulse buy on claims (first impressions)
  3. Selective consumer – Skeptical but hopeful – needs to know and believe in mechanism of results (product quality)
  4. Guided consumer – Relationship sensitive (aware and educated of both product category options as well as mechanism credibility). They benefit from a credible source of information. Such as Dr Oz for health.
  5. Educated consumer (looks beyond hype and has opinions of what works and what doesn’t, which may be right or wrong, but they are strongly opinionated and you will need to market appropriately (e.g. financial advisors appealing to liberals vs conservatives)

Gavriel Shaw


Gavriel has product and marketing expertise from a variety of roles, including CMO, Head of Growth, Head of Marketing, eCommerce Director, Web Marketing Director, Product Marketing Manager, and Senior Copywriter in various sectors, both B2C and B2B.

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