By Ronell Swartbooi

 

Empathising with the journey of a client, understanding where they are at and what their aspirations are for marketing their brand should be a core part of the process in developing and delivering a strategy that works. The fundamental part of marketing a brand is holistically understanding the intended audience’s drivers when making a purchase decision. However, tapping into the vision of the product owners can also provide valuable insights on how to navigate the next steps in the journey of marketing the product. 

 

Audiences are evolving. How and what insights we gather should evolve too. 

The people behind the brand or the development of the product, are just as fundamental to the success of the brand marketing campaign. Why? Because they have, more than likely, conducted in-depth market research or followed a design thinking process to develop the product. Insights and trends were explored as the product was being developed, right? So why not tap into that as a resource, during the initial stages of pulling your marketing campaign strategy together? In-house marketing managers literally have product owners on site or available remotely via the company Slack or Skype channels, why not ask them what the consumer said during the testing phase of the product? 

The point that I raise is that, as marketeers, we tend to focus primarily on the audience receiving the product messages when perhaps we should also be considering the psychographic insights the product developer gathered whilst designing the product. 

If you are wondering what the difference is between psychographic and demographic insights, the simplest way to unpack the difference is through the varying profile questions you would ask to understand your intended audience. It’s the “where do you live, how much do you earn, and what age are you?” (demographic) questions vs “what is your opinion on X, what are your expectations or values of an employer in X industry, or what do you take into consideration when buying X?” 

 

Conversation starters 

A recent conversation with a fellow PR and Communications consultant that runs his own business, reminded me one can easily get stuck in the work we want to deliver, and forget to reflect on “who is my ideal customer?” 

That very question is such a great conversation starter when you are in the discovery/ research phase of your marketing campaign. Think about it, do we truly unpack that question? 

“I’m in a process now where I’m determining my ideal client/ customer and filtering to find the ones that are perfect for my business. Why? Because I have to spend time with these people and I only work with those I’m proud to be around. I’ve realised some business people, during the early stages of creating a sales funnel, do not think about their ideal client, their focus tends to be on broad leads and money. But at some point, we all wake up and realise there’s a certain type of person we want to be working with… I’m creating those opportunities now.” – Derek Smith, Founder and Strategic Consultant, Word Creative Consultants. 

Now, apply Derek’s logic to marketing. 

 

Consumers are waking up and realising that there’s a certain type of brand they want to buy from. 

According to a research report released by Accenture in April 2020, COVID-19: How consumer behavior will be changed – “The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world as we know it. People are living differently, buying differently and in many ways, thinking differently.”

The most important part of that sentence: “thinking differently.” The report clearly states that if brands want to remain relevant, they need to focus on more personalised and customised strategies because the days of one size-fits-all is over. 

One interesting outcome of this survey is the fact that consumers indicated they were more fearful of the economic impact of COVID-19 than for their health:

 

  • 64% of respondents indicated that they feared for their Personal Health. 
  • 82% of respondents indicated that they feared for the health of others.
  • 64% indicated that they are worried about the impact on personal job security. 
  • 88% were concerned about the impact on the overall economy. 

 

In light of these research stats, how does a marketeer navigate the landscape to be more relatable?

According to marketeer and visual storyteller/ graphic designer, Robin Moodley, who has for the last 18 years worked across brand and marketing campaigns with corporates, in agency and as a freelancer across various sectors in South Africa, marketeers need to make the time to ask the important questions upfront, not forgetting that digital media platforms allow marketeers and brand managers to conduct quick surveys with their followers FOR FREE! (Think Instagram story surveys.) 

As a designer, Moodley visually incorporates the elements his target audience relates to so that the images evoke emotion. “Emotional drivers are the reason why we (as consumers) do a lot of things.” 

 

Unlocking the potential value of psychographics 

Moodley adds that, “The more you can get people to relate to you, the better for your brand.” Why? Because a brand that truly takes the time to care about its customer, is a brand that reaps the benefits of its customers coming back to purchase, and in turn influences future potential customers. 

From personal experience, I highly recommend taking a short course in Design Thinking. Anyone aiming to create a relatable brand should consider investing time in understanding this process. Why? It helps you practice empathy from the very start and before you know it, asking psychographic questions becomes second nature. 

 

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