We’re all consumers. We eat, we play, we experience. So, marketing to consumers should be as easy as talking to ourselves, right? Well…sort of. As long as you can nail the consumer insight, you’ll break through the noise.
What Is a Consumer Insight?
There are common behaviors, values, and mindsets that groups of consumers share. For example, when city-dwellers take the bus, they almost never sit in the seat right next to someone. The “normal” thing to do is to sit in every other seat. No one tells them to. No one enforces it. It’s a widely accepted behavior that they just do.
Why? If you can answer that, you’ll find the key to talking to your consumer. Oftentimes, the motivations behind our behaviors reveal a deep human truth that can be used in your marketing strategy to yield results—also known as the consumer insight.
In a few words, the consumer insight is the intersection of knowing who’s in your audience and who they are. For example, you could be targeting millennial mothers who live in the city. That’s knowing who you’re talking to. But knowing that they would do anything to protect their kids, value sustainable products, and want to raise their kids differently from how they were raised is closer to knowing them personally. And if you can speak to your consumer on their level, your voice will be heard.
How Do You Find a Consumer Insight? Observe.
Keep asking why. Just like a child who keeps asking why and inevitably elicits the “Because I said so!” from their parents, asking why allows you to dive deeper into emotional motivations.
Let’s practice with another well-known behavior example. You’re in a waiting room at the doctor’s office. You smell the faint aroma of cleaning products, hear the “Dr. So-and-So’s office, please hold,” and see everyone sitting around you, on their phones, in uncomfortable wooden chairs.
Hmm… with nothing better to do, why don’t they just talk to each other? Well, a doctor’s office is full of strangers, so it can feel awkward. Ok, cool, go on—why are they on their phones? Phones help us feel comfortable by diverting our attention elsewhere. That’s a nice thought, how? Phones connect us to places that we have control over, and that helps us to form our real-life experiences. Bingo.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Why does this matter? Say you’re selling an app that allows people to work from wherever they are. Instead of saying you’re this great app that can help your consumer accomplish their tasks from anywhere, your messaging gets deeper. The app becomes more than an app; it’s the consumer’s channel to success, so that they can be and feel like a boss wherever they go.
Are the creative juices flowing? That’s when you know you’ve landed on something good.
Check Your Work With Data
When our ideas are flying at the speed of light, the last thing most of us want is to deal with details. But data is a huge part of making consumer insights relevant and helps you check if your consumer observations are correct.
Ideally, you want to pair any strategy with primary and secondary research. Primary research is research you conduct on your own. It can range from one-on-one interviews with customers to surveys, focus groups, and more. On the other hand, secondary research is research that’s already been done by other people that can supplement your findings. It’s best to find sources from neutral, credible publications (and always check when it was last updated).
When you pair your personal experiences and observations with proven data, you’re increasing the accuracy of your messaging—and your ability to be remembered.
How to Put Your Consumer Insight to Work
You’ve asked the hard questions, you’ve conducted research, you know your consumer like the back of your hand—now what? It’s time to showcase what you’ve learned.
The ultimate test of a consumer insight is the ability of your messaging to pay it off. It’s simple to say, “buy this product,” or “try this thing,” but it’s not effective. Move your consumer emotionally, speak to them directly, and position yourself as the solution. We’ve gathered several checklist items to help you evaluate your creative:
Spring on In
The next time you’re out to eat, playing a game, or trying something new, take a step back to evaluate what’s going on around you. You might just be surprised by what you learn. And if you find yourself wanting a strategy refresh, feel free to spring into our inbox.