Sometimes the easiest way to know what your customers are thinking is to simply ask them. And then ask them again. Sure, research studies take time and money, and don’t seem as tangible as marketing materials and advertising campaigns. Not gathering consumer insights, however, can foster a ready-fire-aim approach to brand management.
It’s reasonable for business, sales, and marketing leaders to assume they know what their customers want, need, and value. But their view is through a business lens, related to the product or service they sell. It tends to focus on quantifiable brand attributes such as price, speed of service, location convenience, etc.
Consider, though, that a customer's mindset is shaped by even more factors. Gathering qualitative consumer insights uncovers attitudes, feelings, and aspirations not revealed in day-to-day transactions. And consciously or not, a customer's decision to buy is influenced at least as much by emotions as by rational considerations.
When customers have a choice, a strong brand differentiates your company from others. How you position your product/service and how you want the customer experience perceived is part of your brand strategy. Understanding customers’ emotional, as well as rational, mindset guides you to develop marketing materials and a customer experience that are not only on-brand, but also well-aimed.
Now wouldn’t you feel better knowing your marketing budget is being spent on materials that are relevant, relatable, and resonant for your target customer?
Gathering consumer insights before developing marketing materials or designing the customer experience is critical. Allocating time and money to do customer research once marketing programs are underway, or even as an ongoing pulse-taking exercise, is smart.
Your business is undoubtedly ever-evolving, and customer needs and expectations change. Your brand management must keep up. Research will supplement the intel your sales team is providing and could signal the need for change way ahead of an impact to sales.
And that will help keep your brand on target and pointed toward growth.
If you found this helpful, please share it with a colleague. If you want to know more about the value of research for your brand development, give me a call, send me a note, or let’s meet. You’ll be glad you did.