Know your customer. Know their habits. So you can surprise and delight them. You’re preaching to the converted – at best.
You have a solid product offering, and you’ve known who you’ve been speaking to for years. But maybe your typical customer has changed over that time, even though you haven’t. They have different needs and expectations these days, they use various devices, they read different publications, and if you’re not careful they’ll drift to a leaner, more innovative competitor. This is where our audience research becomes critical.
It’s not just about the people you have, but also those people you haven’t yet got on board. What about those people who you need to reach, the ones that, if you can get their attention, will help smash your sales targets? Maybe you’re the drinks brand that needs to connect with the millennial audience, otherwise, there is no future. Perhaps you’re the old club or society that needs to dust itself down get itself ready for the digital age.
Audiences – both existing and ideal – define your brand tactics. Whether it’s working out what marketing strategies to use, or what kind of creative approach to take with your branding, knowing who you’re talking to is critical. But it isn’t even just about who they are, but where they are, what devices they use, what publications they interact with, and when they’re online. What kind of content do they like to consume?
What’s more, knowing who we need to produce compelling content for is a crucial aspect of the creative process. So we combine a range of techniques – both touchy-feely emotional stuff and the more arms’ length data analysis, to give you a rounded picture of the modern audience landscape.
It goes without saying, but this is a collaborative process. We need to work jointly on finding the right audience and working out what information you need. In this way, the thoughts, ideas, words and emotions of real customers can be the kick-start to producing amazing ideas that knock your goals out of the park.
Audience research can take many forms, but before we even begin, we need to know what you want to get out of it. Are you looking to rebrand your company for a new generation, or are you looking to create a suite of dominant marketing activities that will be a shot-in-the-arm to flagging sales? What are your goals? What are you trying to understand? Before we go anywhere near potential or real customers, we’ll work together to shortlist the right kinds of tactics and questions to get the information and feedback that’s most useful for you to hear – no matter how tough it is to listen to it. This is something we quite easily plug into our marketing and branding workshops, to layer up insights and information that truly make the difference to your organisation in the long run.
Once we have a clear idea of what you need out of the research, one of the options would be to conduct face-to-face research and focus groups. Whether that’s combing through crucial influencers, press and members of the community to get a rounded picture of what people think about your brand. Or, more collaborate in-house focus group sessions based on audience profiles. We can even conduct this kind of activity online as we ask questions while people try to navigate your website to understand their needs. There are numerous ways to go about getting research – each one tailored to what your initial requirements are. And let’s not forget it’s great to stay in touch with a core group of your customers – to test out creative ideas, from that sexy new packaging to a whole new brand logo. Focus groups can help you land a significant rebrand project so that you don’t alienate your existing customers (unless you’re feeling brave enough in the quest to find new customers).
While it’s great to speak with people, face to face, being a digital agency means we’re also fans of good old-fashioned data. Analytics can be a blunt tool, but it also builds a practical and clinical view of who is interacting with your brand online – and we can use that to paint a picture of your broader customer base. Whether that’s based on a deep-dive into Google Analytics, checking in with our Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) activities, or profiling your social media followers, there are rapid ways of getting reliable information about your existing audiences. From this, we can gain a fast snapshot of demographic information as well as their online behaviour, and often in a way that surprises.
Audience research is not just about the likes and dislikes of a particular critical demographic. It’s also about knowing every possible point at which you interact with them – at every stage of the buyers’ journey. Do your customers use social media whiles doing their buying research or will they comb through customer reviews and forums? Will they pass a billboard on their way to work or are they more likely to scroll through their phones? What about when they’ve already bought something from you – did you get their email address to help them to keep coming back in future? Add all of these things together, and we can build up a picture of your audiences’ online, not just their demographic information. And from this, we can begin to develop a full strategy to make sure that we’re delivering the right messages at every touch point through the customer’s journey. In that way, we can make you a lean, mean marketing machine.