Market Analysis Summary
Green Investments has identified two distinct groups of target customers. These two groups of customers are distinguished by their household wealth. They have been grouped as customers with <$1 million and >$1 million in household wealth. The main characteristic that makes both of these groups so attractive is their desire to make a difference in the world by making investment decisions that take into account environmental factors.
The financial services industry has many different niches. Some advisors provide general investment services. Others will only offer one type of investments, maybe just mutual funds or might concentrate on bonds. Other service providers will concentrate on a specific niche like technology or socially responsible companies.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Green Investments has segmented the target market into two distinct groups. The groups can be differentiated by their difference in household wealth, households of <$1 million and >$1 million.
- <$1 million (household worth): These customers are middle class people who have a concern for the environment and are taking personal action through their choosing of stock investments based on companies with both strong economic and environmental performance records. Because these people do not have an over abundance of money they choose stocks that are of moderate risk. Generally, this group has 35%-45% of their portfolio in stocks, the remaining percentages in other types of investments.
- >$1 million (household worth): These customers are upper middle class to upper class. They have amassed over $1 million in savings and are fairly savvy investors (themselves or the people they hire). These people are generally concerned about the rate of return of their investments but also have environmental concerns.
Some characteristics that are shared by both target segments include:
- Vehicles are chosen with environmental concerns in mind. This means they are unlikely to own a SUV, they may in fact be one of the first adopters of the new hybrids (gas/electric vehicles).
- Many of the people commute by bike, car pool or use public transportation when possible.
- Active recyclers, both at work as well as at home.
- Retail purchases are made with environmental concerns in mind.
- A higher percentage of these people relative to the general population are vegetarians.
- For recreational sports, particularly outdoor sports, the people are more likely to enjoy hiking, XC skiing, and other human powered activities instead of golf, downhill skiing, snowmobiling, and jet skiing, all sports that are destructive to the environment.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Green Investments has chosen the previously mentioned target market segments because of the ideological beliefs and the fact that these beliefs translate into the customer groups needing services that Green Investments can provide. While the people can always purchase shares of an environmentally responsible mutual fund, a way that they can exercise their beliefs, mutual funds are just one type of investments. The downside of investments are their relatively low rate of return (relative to good stocks) and the inability to receive personalized service and the ability to make custom choices beyond the type of mutual fund.
Therefore, Green Investments has chosen these specific customer segments because it is a market group that has unmet needs. These groups have the money and willingness for an environmental investment, yet their only current choice is a mutual fund. Green Investments has chosen to distinguish the two market segments by household worth since this characteristic provides useful behavioral information regarding the different people.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
Green Investments participates within the financial service industry. This multi-billion dollar ($14.8) industry services a wide range of people and companies with financial services such as investments. There are many different types of investments offered including but not limited to:
- Treasury bills
- Stocks, mutual funds
- Insurance policies
Within the industry, customers are served by a wide range of service providers including:
- Large national firms such as Merrill Lynch or Charles Schwaab
- Individual firms
- Online brokers
Buying decisions are often based on who you know or familiarity that the person may have with a specific company. Most of the service providers can provide a similar menu of investment options.
Fee structures vary from firm to firm. Many are percentage based on the amount of money the client investments. Some firms charge hourly rates while other firms charge a quarterly management fee. The fee structures are set in stone for some service providers while others take a more flexible approach and are willing to work with the customer to set up special arrangements.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
Green Investments has no direct competitors that offer environmentally sound stock investment services. All of the current environmental investment options are mutual fund based. Examples of this type of mutual funds include Janus, Citizen Funds, Sierra Club Environmental Fund, and Portfolio 21.
Other competitors that Green Investments faces are the typical range of financial advisors. These indirect competitors provide customers with a wide range of different investment options. They could always place an investment order for a specific company, but these specific competitors do not do any independent research on the environmentalism of different companies.