Brands Think They Know “Who” Their Customers Are; The Question Becomes “Who Else?”

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A few years ago, a trend emerged; skincare companies noticed that their customer demographics were shifting and that men were using their wives’ and girlfriends’ high-end skincare products. Eventually, the men even began purchasing these products themselves, often under the guise of shopping for the household. Beauty companies took notice of the data (and maybe a few familiarly fantastic smelling men they passed on the street) – and started to create product lines with blue packaging, approachable product names and masculine scents. Entire start-up companies launched to serve this growing market. If the industry hadn’t been paying attention, they would have missed what has become a massive business.

If giant, global CPG companies have blind spots, you can bet every business could benefit from digging deeper. When brands approach marketing in an open-minded way, looking to learn, fascinating things can happen.

The sporting goods store will stop spending their entire budget on ads in athletic magazines when they learn that moms are the ones buying the gear for their athlete kids.

The restaurant owner will open up their geotargeting beyond their zip code when they realize that one town over is an affluent community filled with potential customers who would drive a few extra miles for a great steak.

It’s about more than simply paying attention. Luckily, this is the era of big data. However; data is only as valuable as what you do with it. It can be overwhelming to know which signals mean something and which to ignore, but it’s all there waiting to be mined and leveraged, and your competitors are already using it. We no longer have to rely on one data set or the other: online or offline, desktop or mobile, website traffic or in-store visits, tv viewership or social engagement. The intersection and overlap of all the sources at our fingertips are where it gets really interesting.

So, how do you check your blind spots?

Start from Scratch

Forget everything you know and have decided over time about your target customer. Build your customer profile from scratch, whether you have been in business for weeks or decades, as if you were starting today. If your products, pricing, industry, or even neighborhood have changed since you started, it’s very possible your customer changed without you even noticing. This exercise will make you get honest.

Leverage Big Data

Marketing platforms are there to do the work for you. Find one that leverages multiple data points and has a team that has a deep understanding of how to make sense of it all. It doesn’t have to be intimidating – lean on the experts and it will be worth it.

Partners like a4Media understand that when it comes to data, there is a difference between good and bad, but that more is more. We also turn these many data points into insights – and then actions, all in one platform. Because what good are insights if you don’t use them to impact your business?

Be Open-Minded

New information is good, even if it’s surprising. Be open to new insights, even if they come from unexpected places. Who’s really walking into your store? Where else do they go? Are the website visitors also the purchasers? Don’t look for these patterns just once, do it repeatedly and consistently.

Test & Learn

It’s easier than ever to diversify your marketing efforts with multi-channel platforms that allow you to reach your customers across many mediums at once – and measure in multiple ways. Test new tactics but be intentional. At a4Media, we start with understanding our client’s goals, and end with measurement and learnings. So often we forget to follow up the “test” with the “learn” piece – and it’s truly the most important step.

When you really understand who your customers are, you can be more creative, more effective and more efficient. And for the brands, like those skincare companies, who think they know the “who” – the question becomes “who else?”.

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