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What should you be learning about your consumers to stay relevant?
Posted by
Chevara Naidoo at 08:00

Yellowwood recently launched our first white paper as part of a series to give readers practical insight into key marketing topics.  The white paper centres on the topic of relevance with its title "How to know more about your market than anyone else". 

Relevance is so crucial, and yet the brands that really get it right are few and far between. In our white paper we highlight that a simple approach to relevance is needed, though marketers often overcomplicate it. We explain that achieving relevance with your customers is much like developing a relationship with people: it's about listening, learning and connecting with them on the issues they care about. Resonating with consumers requires you to really understand them as people, on a deep level.

The following check-list of questions is an easy guide to ensure you're getting real insight about your consumers:

What do your consumers care about?

Don't just ask what brands your consumers buy, but explore what they really care about beyond your category. What issues are important to them? What worries and interests them? Why do they buy what they buy? This insight will help you innovate to create marketing that really resonates with their market.

Who is doing it well?

TOMS caters to the 'do-gooders' of the world who want to be fashionable, but feel strongly about giving back to the community. The brand is based on the concept of one-for-one: when a pair of shoes is sold they donate a pair of shoes to a child in an underprivileged area, and for every pair of sunglasses sold, they help to give or aid sight to those in need.

How do your consumers spend their lives?

'Demographic boxes' are of very limited use when thinking about your consumers. They miss the nuances that allow for real relevance. Immerse yourself in your consumers' life to understand their daily activities, chores and challenges that your brand can help with. Unpack their psychographic profiles to tailor messaging and offerings.  Are they socialites, savvy students or workaholics?

Who is doing it well?

Starbucks understand that their customers come to their stores not only for the coffee, but for the coffee experience. They are now perceived as a lifestyle brand rather than simply a coffee brand.  They have enhanced their in-store experiences through various offerings that apply to a successful 'coffee culture' (Free wi-fi, lounge areas for reading, variety in their food and drink offerings etc.)

Where do your consumers live, work and play?

Don't just think about which channels reach them - they are already bombarded with messages on a variety of platforms that they largely ignore. Think about finding, utilising and creating those unique touch points that create a memorable brand experience.

Who is doing it well?

The Union Bar in Melrose Arch was a pop up bar concept that partnered with Grey Goose Vodka. They understood that their market frequents stylish and sophisticated venues and loves to be in on the latest trends - especially if it's a spontaneous and unique concept.  The venue attracted only the trendiest of customers who had a taste for the finer things in life.

What do your consumers need? (Functional & emotional needs)

Marketers shouldn't simply try to put a 'spin' on their offerings. Uncovering key drivers and needs is critical to developing offerings that are relevant and resonate with consumers.  If your brand isn't meeting real needs, the likelihood of consumers changing brands is very high. And if needs are being met, your messaging needs to clearly communicate the functional and emotional benefits.

Who is doing it well?

BMW understands that their existing and potential customers want to be pampered and feel special. They launched a Brand Store (rolled out across dealerships worldwide) that turned dealerships into highly sophisticated showrooms that preview existing and concept cars to give potential buyers a view of what is to come. Staff on the floor are equipped with 'Product Genius', which is an app that allows the buyer's preferences and needs to be considered when buying a new car - this allows the staff to give vehicle recommendations that best suits the customer.

What do your consumers think about your brand, product or service?

Social media has allowed opinionated consumers to share what they think with the world. Marketers need to pay close attention to what consumers are saying about them rather than trying to tell consumers what to think or how they should perceive your brand.

Who is doing it well?

Dominoes ran a real-time billboard tracker in Times Square of what consumers really thought about the brand. A bold move considering opinions were good and bad. When comments were negative, the brand responded constructively and used the feedback to improve their product offering.  For example, when there were comments about the 'lack of flavour', Dominoes created a new range of flavours, and when there were complaints about the cheese, they changed their cheese.

Achieving brand relevance starts with seeing your consumer as an individual rather than set of data or a profile. Learn more about who your consumers are and what they value - it's the first step to building a better brand that truly resonates and connects with them, driving goodwill, loyalty and sales. 

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