Consumer Mindsets Matter!

Let’s be honest…consumers today have a lot going on in their lives with a wide range of concerns and competing pressures. Ignoring what is influencing their buying decisions or assuming all customers are created equal is a mistake. Understanding the mindset of your customers means that you recognize the context of their purchasing behavior. And that you adjust your content, messaging, and engagement accordingly, particularly in digital channels where you can get rapid feedback on whether you are on- or off-track.

I believe it is safe to say consumers demonstrate both rational and emotional factors when shopping. Most folks look to products and services to help them solve problems or fulfill a need. So, a features and benefits story that is clear and compelling about how your product addresses that problem is table stakes.

How about the emotional side of the equation? Two powerful influences are at play: values and emotions.

1. Values are fundamental beliefs that shape what is important.

Values often shape our identity. A list of examples include:

  • Adventure
  • Assistance
  • Dependability
  • Value for money
  • Connectivity
  • Confidence
  • Thrifty
  • Empowerment
  • Accessible
  • Fun

2. Emotions are what we are feeling, which influences choice.

Emotions ebb and flow based on interactions and experiences. A list of examples include:

  • Compassion
  • Anger
  • Love
  • Anticipation
  • Confidence
  • Happiness
  • Disappointment
  • Surprise
  • Worry
  • Pride

Take both components into consideration for a deeper understanding of why people do what they do.

Another perspective is how people live their lives, which influences their buyer journey. Carol Dweck, in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology for Success,” describes two divergent ways of thinking and behaving that are particularly meaningful for career and family lives. Two characteristics help provide insight into consumer behavior: one is a growth mindset while the other is a fixed mindset.

A growth mindset embraces challenges, persists in the face of obstacles, learns from criticism, and finds lessons and inspiration from the experiences of others.

A fixed mindset avoids challenges and tends to give up trying new things.

These are extremes, but I bet that you know people that fit those profiles. And guess what? Those with a growth mindset tend to be more successful and work harder.

A Path Forward

Here are some tips to gain understanding of consumer mindsets.

1. Ask probing questions to better understand your customers.

What do they truly need (or not need)?

What problems or issues are they dealing with?

What do they consider success?

What lifestyle do they lead, and what is their life stage? Managerial or hourly; family with kids or dual income no kids; frantic or well-planned and controlled; spontaneous or frugal?

What aspirations do they have?

What keeps them up at night?

2. Gather available data from customer interactions, such as website engagement, customer service contacts, feedback from webinars, purchaser surveys, or chat sessions.

Based on this fact finding, you can develop personas of your buyers so you can tailor your story to better fit their mindset, while still showcasing your point(s) of difference. Be sure to take values and emotions into account. If you have employees who fit one or more of your customer personas, try out your messaging with them and refine it as necessary.

Want an example of a buyer persona? Here’s one:

Stacey is a 20-year-old college student that drinks a lot of coffee to keep up with her schoolwork and freelance jobs. She likes higher quality coffee brands but comes from a lower income family and has student debt. Stacey is active on social media and looks for good deals and coupons.

There are some good cues there to guide your messaging for younger, value driven customers.

Stay vigilant and practice active listening, because your customers are a fluid, moving target.

Want some help?

At Forge, we thrive on helping clients maximize brand value and digging deep to understand and act on consumer insights. We are here to be your partner, your trusted advisor, your devil’s advocate. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. How do we best engage with and attract your primary target audience? How does your product uniquely meet the needs of customers? How do we maximize the market opportunity?

Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, nimble, smart, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    Hit “LET’S TALK” to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started!

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