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May 26, 2015

Letting Your Customers Tell You What’s Trendy

Letting Your Customers Tell You What’s Trendy

In a marketplace full of fickle and temperamental customers, market research is the key to giving your brand an edge.

In our fast-paced world where fast manufacturing is king, too many businesses fall into the trap of telling consumers what they want instead of actually finding out what they want. While the brain trust in your marketing department might be great at manufacturing  ideas that they guarantee with 95 percent assurance will blow consumers away, good marketing isn’t always that simple. The best marketing initiatives will come from a place informed by research and the past history of the audience you’re targeting.
Analyze your Customers

The heart of the consumer is fickle, prone to violent mood swings and constantly changing expectations that businesses bear the burden of trying to keep up with. Consumers know what they want, but aren’t likely to outright tell us until a fully-formed mob is pounding on our door with pitchforks demanding a taco with a spicy Doritos® shell.

Businesses try to collect consumer information on buying preferences with surveys or feedback promotions, often strategically positioned on the back of fast food receipts and seasoned with incentives of cash rewards or free hamburgers. However, this type of data collection has a notoriously low follow-through rate. So without hearing it from the consumers themselves, how can businesses keep up with the ever-changing demands of a world that is constantly craving innovation?

Fortunately, consumer choice is an easy enough thing to track, given the right information. Spending metrics related to what consumers buy and how they use products dominate the marketing world and remain some of the most powerful tools for brands looking to give consumers more of what they want.

But as we’ve established, consumers don’t often know what they want until they see it. Sometimes, a package design or a brand’s advertising can show a new aspect of a product to a consumer who never realized they needed it until that very moment. This is where creative advertising comes into play.

The Creative Advantage

Creativity is essential for brands looking to differentiate themselves from the masses, but creativity alone isn’t enough to guarantee success. Generating creative ideas without the proper market research to support them is tantamount to fishing in the dark.

There are a number of variables that should be considered when personalizing your product to a target audience, most of which could be gathered by simple surveys. But as we know, surveys aren’t reliable. So instead of asking, savvy marketers are forced to peer over the shoulders of consumers and analyze how they interact with products in their daily lives through the use of spending analytics:

  • Which products are consumers buying? What similarities do the products they choose share?
  • How does the consumer use the product? Are they using it for the intended purpose or are they creating new uses for it outside of what the manufacturer intended?
  • What aspects of the product resonate with consumers?
  • Do specific types of packaging or branding receive more attention?

These questions are difficult to answer from a distance but are essential for brands to be aware of. By having an understanding of the decisions behind consumer choices, it becomes possible to predict shifts in their mindset and creates marketing opportunities for the future. We’re talking about giving them more of what they want to see, with your own spin that will be sure to stand out in their minds.

Substance and Style

While innovate advertising initiatives and strong package design are important, successful marketing goes beyond creating pretty-looking packaging. If you create situations where customers are drawn in by effective advertising only to find that the product they purchased falls short of expectations, you haven’t accomplished much aside from creating a single sale and an unhappy customer.

Moreover, the backlash that customer’s review may create on social media can easily put you in a worse situation than you were before. Sure, make your packaging pretty, but back up your advertising with a well-researched and tested product to prevent your customers from thinking of your brand as all sizzle and no steak.

Let Them Work For You

While keeping up with the trends of a constantly-evolving marketplace can seem like a Herculean task, smart marketers will realize that much of the work is already done for them.

By utilizing market research and tracking the spending habits of your target demographics, you can easily see what products are popular and what trends are on the rise. With this information in mind, predicting the needs of your consumers becomes a simpler task and makes it easier to provide more of what they want to see. Your consumers are telling you what they want with every purchase; it’s up to you to decide whether or not to listen.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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