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Do you know your consumer?


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Do you know your consumer better than your competition knows your consumer?

Think of consumer insights like you do intellectual property. Your knowledge of your consumer is a competitive advantage. Consumer Insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. Insights provide a connection point to show consumers that your brand is meant for them.

What are you doing to drive brand love with your consumers? The deeper the love a brand can build with your most cherished consumers, the more powerful and profitable that brand will be, going far beyond what the product alone could ever deliver.

There is only one source of revenue. Not the products you sell, but the consumers who buy them.

Published in: Marketing
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Do you know your consumer?

  1. 1. THE BRAND LEADER ! Focus your target on the most motivated consumers The 7 key questions that you can use to define your consumer target: 1.What is the description of the consumer target? 2.What are the consumer’s main needs? 3.Who is the consumer’s enemy that torments them everyday? 4.What are the insights we know about the consumer? 5.What does the consumer think now? 6.How does the consumer buy? 7.What do we want them to see, think, do, feel or whisper to their friends?
  2. 2. Who is your Consumer Target? One of the biggest mistakes I see marketers make is when they pick too big of a target market. A smart target market not only decides who is in the target but who is not in the target. There is this myth that a bigger target will make the brand bigger, so the scared Marketer targets ‘everyone’. There seems to be an irrational fear of leaving someone out. Spreading your brand’s limited resources across an entire population is completely cost-prohibitive. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is actually riskier because you are spreading your resources so broadly, that you never see the full impact you want to see. This gives your brand a lower return on investment and eventually will drain your brand’s limited resources. Please focus. Every time I go to the Airport, I see the shoeshine person looking down at people’s feet, prospecting potential customers based on if they are wearing leather shoes, I am reminded how simple it is to target those consumers who are the most motivated by what you do. Sure, they could be missing out on the very few people who have leather shoes in their suitcase. However, using a focused approach to profile consumers is a smart way to maximize your return on effort. If a shoeshine person can narrow the focus of their target to people wearing leather shoes, why is it so difficult for you to narrow down your target to those who care the most about what your brand does? Instead of going after the consumers you want to get, you should go after those consumers mostly likely to want you.
  3. 3. Narrow your target without fear To illustrate this point of focus, I look at three types of potential target markets: 1. Selling Target: This is pretty much everyone, selling to anyone who comes in the door and wants to buy, regardless if they fit your ideal target. This should never be a Marketing target. You should never spend your limited dollars against this large of a target, when you have not seen any signs that everyone will respond enough to the brand’s message to provide an efficient pay back. 2. Marketing Target: The smartest Brand Leaders know their ideal consumer target. With increased access to data, you know more about potential consumers. Just like the shoeshine person, you should focus your limited resources on those consumers you know will respond to the advertising and your new product offering. This provides the fastest and highest return on investment. 3. Program Target: When working on a specific campaign, narrow the target even further. These are the people you want to stimulate to see if you can get them to see, think, feel or do. A specific program target is smart when launching a new product, or lining up to a specific time of year (Back to School).
  4. 4. The case of the crazy bank that targeted everyone I was working with a bank who told me their target market for a first time mortgage (home loan) was 18-65, new customers, current customers and employees. Sarcastically, I said, “You have forgotten tourists and prisoners”. As I pressed to help them narrow their consumer target, they pushed back saying they did not want to alienate anyone “just in case”. I cringed at the word ‘alienate’ and the idea of ‘just in case’. Sure, the odd 64-year-old might be tired of renting for the past 40 years, but they would not be offended having a 32-year-old in the advertising. The age target that is the most motivated by a mortgage ad would be 28-33. I narrowed their target to 1% of the population with one simple phrase, “Looking to buy a house”. This is equal to wearing leather shoes for the shoeshine person. No one buys a house on impulse and no one ever wanted a mortgage, without buying a house. Consumers usually spend 6-12 months looking for a house. This is complete common sense, but why was it lost on the bank? Think about the difference the focused target makes on the Marketing. Instead of randomly advertising to everyone on mass media, the brand can focus their limited resources where the consumer would be most open to your message. Advertise on real estate websites, use billboards outside new housing developments and use radio ads on Saturday afternoon when people are looking at new homes. I persuaded the bank to narrow the target to: “28-33, looking to buying a house within the next 6 months and nervous about their debt load.” When you finally realize that not everyone can like you is the first step to focus all your attention on those few who can really love your brand.
  5. 5. You will be much more successful convincing a focused and motivated segment of the population to choose your brand because the promise matches up perfectly to what they want. Segmentation Who can love your brand the most? There are various ways to divide up the market to identify the most motivated possible audience. Here are three main ways to segment the market: ! 1. Consumer profiling: Demographics are one of the easiest way to segment. While some resist demographics, you will eventually have to put someone in the ad and likely buy media using age. Then add in socio-economic, geographic, and how they shop. Make the choice to focus on either current or new customers, never both. Trying to drive penetration and usage at the same time will drain your resources. These are two dramatically different targets needing different messaging, media and potentially different product offerings. 2. Consumer Behavior: Divide the market based on consumer need states, purchase occasions, life stages or life moments. Divide the market based on purchase behavior, perceptions or beliefs.
  6. 6. 3. Consumer Psychographics: Psychographics look at shared common behaviors such as the consumer’s shared lifestyle, personality, values or attitudes. Segmentation should force focus. Do not spend tons of money on a segmentation study and then try to figure out how to go after each segment with a completely different brand message. I have seen Marketer do this and it is borderline crazy. That is not the right way to use these studies. A brand can only ever have one reputation. What are the Needs of your Consumer? If you can make consumers buy, then you will never have to sell. The best brands do not go after consumers, they get consumers to crave the brand and come after the brand. The process I will take you through is to look at matching up the needs of what your consumers want and need, with what your brand does best. The first thing you need to understand is what your consumers are looking for. To help get you started, I have mapped out 9 functional consumer need states to help you understand the potential spaces your brand can play in: Possible Functional Needs
  7. 7. I have also mapped out 8 emotional consumer need states to help you understand the various emotional spaces your brand can play in: Possible Emotional Needs These need states mean something different for each category of brands, but it should be a good starting point for you to brainstorm where you can add specific words that fit your own brand situation. Who is your Consumer’s Enemy? While products solve small problems, the best brands beat down the enemies that torment their consumers every day. Put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and find their biggest frustration pain point they feel no one is even noticing or addressing.
  8. 8. Put yourself in the shoes of the Starbucks consumer, a 38-year-old mom with two kids. She wakes up at 6:15am, not only to get ready for work, but also to get everyone in the house ready for their day. She drops off one kid at daycare at 7:30am, the other at public school at 7:45 and then rushes into the office by 8:30 am. She drives a van, not because she wants to, but because it is great for carrying equipment for after-school activities, including soccer, dance, tutoring and ice hockey. Her only appreciations are hugs at the end of a long day. Just after getting both to bed, she slinks into her bed exhausted. The enemy of the Starbucks consumer is her hectic life. The Starbucks brand fights her enemy, by providing a 15-minute moment of escape between work and home. No play land, just nice leather seats. No loud screams, just soft acoustic music. The cool 21-year-old college student not only knows her name, but her favorite drink. Who is the enemy of your consumer? If you want to understand your consumer’s pain points, think of how you would project their enemy and express how your brand fights that enemy on their behalf. Shifting from solving a rational
  9. 9. consumer problem to beating down an emotional consumer enemy is the starting point to reaching into the emotional need state of your consumer. Disney fights off the consumer enemy of ‘growing up’. Nike fights the consumer enemy of ‘giving up’. Apple fights off the consumer enemy of ‘frustration’. Consumer Insights Consumer Insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. Brands should think of consumer insights as a potential competitive advantage, equal in importance to intellectual property. Insights enable brands to connect with their consumers on a deeper emotional level, showing ‘we get you’. Done right, smart consumer insights get consumers to stop and listen to your brand’s promise or brand story, engage in the latest innovation and believe the consumer experiences fits perfect with their life. Data can be a starting point to digging around for an insight, but is not an insight itself. Too many Marketers think that data, trends and facts are insights. Here’s a data point: “People in Brazil brush their teeth 4 times per day, compared to 1.7 times per day for North Americans”. Do you think that is an insight? Some people do. But when you think of how little you really know about this data point, you realize you need to go deeper on the context to gain an understanding. You must start to ask more
  10. 10. questions, by asking who, what when and where, or asking how and even why, we can start to turn this fact into an insight. The problem with facts is they sit at the surface. Without going beneath the surface, we might jump to conclusions. We might think the reason Brazilians brush their teeth so often is the lack of fluoride in the water. Maybe they are more social or talk closer. Maybe they are more vain, so they need to look as beautiful as possible. What if it is spicier foods? The point being is when you stay at the surface level you will realize how little you know about these Brazilians consumers. The dictionary definition of the word Insight is “seeing below the surface”. Keep looking, listening and digging to get beneath the facts. Ask yourself, “So what does that mean for the consumer?” until you see the ‘Why’ that explains the cause of the consumer’s behavior. Ask questions that force you deeper, avoiding clichés that keep you stuck at the surface level and stop you from getting to the deep, rich, and meaningful consumer insights.
  11. 11. 360-degree Mining for Consumer Insights ! Build a complete picture of the consumer by looking at multiple sources to help find consumer insights. Start with market data, and then add your observations, the voice of the consumer, emotional need states and life moments: 1. What we can read: A lot of Brand Managers get stuck here, using facts only as their insight. But it is not very insightful, as it adds nothing about what is in the consumer’s mind. It keeps you stuck at the surface level. Using available data such as market share results, tracking studies or category trends, look for underlying explanations of the data breaks, drivers, inhibitors, as well as new trends happening with consumers, channels and competitors. Tell the story behind the data. 2. What we see: Use observations of the consumer reactions, coming from focus groups, product tests, ad testing and direct consumer engagements that can add to the insights. Watch the way they respond.
  12. 12. 3. What we sense: Listen to the Voice of Consumer (VOC), assessing consumer comments on social media, brand reviews, market research. Listen for specific word choices in the consumer’s language. 4. What we feel: Use observations and listening to match up the emotional need states to help you articulate the consumer’s potential emotional moods. 5. Day in the Life Moments: Map out the consumer’s life with explanations of underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions at any point of the day. Draw conclusions on how parts of their life could impact their path to purchase. Once you have completed all 5 areas of the 360-degree mining, get in the consumer’s shoes, observe, listen and understand how they think, act, feel and behave. Understand their fears, motivations, frustrations and desires. Learn their language and their voice. Learn their secrets that only they know, even if they cannot explain. Insights are a great way to demonstrate ‘we know you’, because the number one reason consumers buy a brand is simple ‘because it is for me’. Case Study: Consumer Insights for ‘Quit-Smoking’ Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do. Here’s how I used the 360-degree mining for consumer insights. The starting data point was, “Studies show smokers will try to quit cold turkey over 7 times before reaching for a smoking aid to help them quit.” Adding observations from focus groups, I could sense how smokers become very agitated, talking about ‘how frustrated they are with their failed attempts to quit smoking’. When I listened further, I heard them say, “I feel guilty that I can’t quit. I know it’s expensive. But whenever I quit, I’m really not myself. I get so irritable that I give up”. Using the emotional need states, I gravitated to the consumer’s lack of confidence to quit, and how smokers feel out of control whenever they try to quit. Observing how quitting smoking fits into their lives, I
  13. 13. could see how they take their misery from trying to quit out on those around them. Their friends would rather they keep smoking, than have to deal with the terrible version of themselves. 360-degree Mining for Consumer Insights among Smokers ! The consumer insight (Connection point) I drew out was: “I know I should quit. I have tried to quit so many times. It is ridiculous. I am not myself. I am grouchy, irritable and feel out of control. Quitting smoking sucks!” When I shared this secret back to smokers who want to quit, they say, “Yup, that is exactly how I feel”. From here, you can deduce a consumer enemy, which is the consumer’s pain point. For the quit smoking the pain point is: “I fear quitting smoking will bring out the monster in me, tuning me into the worst version of myself.” Here’s how to write meaningful consumer insights. Force yourself to get in the shoes of your
  14. 14. consumer and use their voice. Every consumer insight should start with the word “I” to get into the shoes of the consumer and then put the insight in quotes to use their voice. Here are some examples of good and bad consumer insights: ! Consumer Insights must show up at every consumer touch-point. Knowing the secrets of your consumers can be a very powerful asset. The best brand communication should be like whispering an inside-joke that only you and your friend get. When the Consumer Insight connects, it makes consumers stop and say, “Hmmm. That’s exactly how I feel. I thought I was the only one who felt like that.” When portrayed with the brand’s message, whether through packaging, advertising or at the purchase moment, the consumer will think the brand is just for them. As brands are looking for that quick entry into the consumers mind, consumer insights should show up in all five consumer touch-points including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and consumer experience. Harness those secrets to inspire, educate and challenge everyone who works on the brand to find ways to quickly connect with consumers, accurately reflecting how the consumer feels. Use insights to inspire your creative agencies, product development teams, and
  15. 15. shopper marketing teams. The operations team who deliver the consumer experience should leverage the insights everyday. Bring the consumer insights into the forefront of the organizational purpose, values and expected behaviors. Completing the Target Profile Using all this work, this would consumer target profile for the quit smoking consumer target. The ways of the modern consumer have changed. Consumers today see 5,000 brand messages per day, far too many for their brains to handle. Consumers are constantly distracted—working, walking, talking, texting, driving, searching and clicking —rarely doing one thing at a time. They filter out irrelevant advertising and gravitate only to brands that capture their minds and hearts.
  16. 16. Consumers are tired of being burned by faulty brand promises. Their instinct is to doubt first, test second, and at any point cast aside those brands that do not live up to their original promise. Consumers stay loyal to brands that speak directly with them and those that offer the most amazing experiences that exceed their expectations. Consumers take control of the buying process, literally at their fingertips. They feel empowered knowing that they matter more than they ever have before. Right in the moment, they openly voice their pleasure and displeasure to their friends, empowered knowing the influence they bring. Consumers may explore rationally, but engage emotionally with brands they believe in. Do you know your consumer better than your competition knows your consumer? Brands should think of consumer insights like you do intellectual property. Your knowledge of your consumer is a competitive advantage. The deeper the love a brand can build with your most cherished consumers, the more powerful and profitable that brand will be, going far beyond what the product alone could ever deliver. There is only one source of revenue: not the products you sell, but the consumers who buy them.
  17. 17. Beloved Brands: Who are we? At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth and profitability you will realize in the future. The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea. We help brands find growth We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand. We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.
  18. 18. We make Brand Leaders smarter We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand. Bio: Graham Robertson of Beloved Brands Graham Robertson spent 20 years in Brand Management leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, General Mills and Coke, rising up to VP Marketing. In his career, he has won numerous Advertising, Innovation and Leadership awards. Graham played a major role in helping J&J win Marketing Magazine’s prestigious “Marketer of the Year” award. Graham brings a reputation for challenging brand leaders to think differently and pushes them to be more strategically focused. Graham founded Beloved Brands in 2010, with a personal purpose to use his marketing expertise to help brands find growth and to use his experience in leading others to help make brand leaders smarter. Graham leads workshops that help define your Brand Positioning, build your brand’s Big Idea, and write strategic Brand Plans that motivate and focus everyone that works on the brand. The Beloved Brands training programs will help make your team smarter, produce exceptionally smart work that drives stronger brand growth and
  19. 19. profits. In the program, Graham covers everything a brand leader needs to know including strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, marketing execution and brand analytics. The Beloved Brands robust client roster has included the NFL Players Association, Shell, Acura, Reebok, President’s Choice, Miller Lite, 3M, Jack Link’s and Pfizer. Graham is one of the leading voices of today’s Brand Leaders. His weekly brand stories have generated over 5 million views from marketers around the world trying to get smarter. He is a highly regarded keynote speaker around the world, with passionate speeches to help inspire marketing minds. If you need our help with anything, email me at or call me at 416 885 3911