Understanding Your Consumer

Think you know your consumer; I mean really know them? Are you sure? When was the last time you checked in with them?

Are you still meeting their needs? Have their preferences shifted? Has their consumption or repurchase rate slowed down? Any changes in your sales trends or competitive actions or new regulations or product launches?

Safe to say that it is a dynamic market with lots of moving parts. Rarely do things stay the same for very long.

If you want to continue to grow sales and deepen your consumer satisfaction, it might be time to do a “temperature check.” Especially before you invest in a new product launch or a new marketing campaign that features an enhanced benefit, a new claim or new formulation. Making your numbers depends on how well you know your consumer.

And not all consumers are created equal. Often it is the 80 / 20 rule where that 20% accounts for the majority of your sales (or more). So, we would encourage you to do some research to improve your odds for success.

Dig into their buyer journey, their behavior and mindset. How do they learn about new products today? Probably not network TV. Likely more often it is product reviews or ratings published online, or customer reviews posted on ecommerce sites. Maybe they subscribe to interest groups or browse sites that capture their imagination and favorite things (recipes, destinations, tips and tricks). The point is that it is helpful to know where they are so that you can reach them effectively.

Then get inside their heads. Are they open to new things (flavors, ingredients, usage ideas, materials, etc.) or are they more cautious? The more adventurous the better.

In most cases, consumers have multiple needs in play when they make purchase decisions. There are the functional benefits that are so critical to selecting your Brand. How does it work, how long does it last, how do you use it, does it make things easier or work better, is it easy to open or reclose, what is the nutritional profile (fat free, diet or low cal, gluten free, kosher, sugar free, non-GMO, heart healthy, organic, and so on)? Do you have any claims that you can make that might induce switching behavior (“preferred 2 to 1”; new and improved; now made with “X” ingredient)? And importantly, what is the price value compared to competitive offerings?

Then there are the emotional benefits that may play an equally important part to getting and keeping your core consumer in your franchise. How does your Brand make them feel? Does your Brand make them feel more comfort, safer, smarter, more savvy, more intelligent, more adventurous, more traditional, and so on? Do they connect with the look, the logo, the imagery? Is Trust your sweet spot, or something more vibrant, more cutting edge that attracts early adopters?

If you haven’t asked your consumers (or it has been awhile since you did some research), you likely will learn some new things. Get some actionable insights. And maybe not just a couple of focus groups where you only talk with 100 or fewer people, where respondents might want to “please” the moderator with their answers or be influenced by a dominant personality in the room. Think about a deeper dive. Maybe even include forced choice or ranked alternatives as part of your inquiry to get to true preferences and behaviors.

Knowing those “must have” functional benefits as well as the emotional drivers of behavior can inform your marketing strategy (product, package, messaging, promotion, positioning). Our view is that the better you know your consumer, the better your return on marketing investment will be, and the stronger your revenues.

If there is a lot at stake (e.g. a totally new approach, new messaging, new product innovation, new target consumer), a second round of research may be warranted to confirm that you have it right. Before you spend big money on the marketing campaign. Did you get the words that resonate with your consumer? Is the promise sufficiently motivating, is the call-to-action persuasive? Is it memorable, is it clear?

At Forge, we thrive on helping clients uncover those insights that shed new light on how to win. We are here to be your partner, your conscience, your devil’s advocate. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. Who is your primary target audience? How does this product meet their needs? How do we maximize the market opportunity?  

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

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    CLICK HERE 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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