In this guest post, Ania Kubiak (main photo), A/NZ country manager at Lucid, offers her tips on how to align your brand with customers’ fast-moving expectations…
In today’s digital world, the speed at which consumers’ perspectives and opinions on political and social environments is changing faster than ever before. Consumers are inundated with new information daily that forces them to consider the interests, alliances, and causes that matter most to them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the acceleration and adoption of e-commerce and digital technologies around the world, including Australia. For companies, there’s never been a more important time than now to connect with the consumer and win loyalty and trust that is meaningful, personal and authentic.
To do so, marketers must have an idea of consumers’ sentiments in real-time (or close to it) in order to be successful and create meaningful campaigns. An ad that was appropriate a month ago can suddenly feel tone deaf a month later. This can result in you risking a financial hit from unnecessary ad spend and potentially damaging your brand’s image.
So, how can brands best respond to these fluctuating or nuanced consumer sentiments? The solution goes beyond strategic creative planning. To be successful, we need to truly understand consumer behaviours and patterns and to achieve this, doing more research is the key.
How consumer data plays into a marketing strategy
As businesses start to think deeper into what the post-pandemic era will look like, more marketers are relying on data analysis to understand how best to reach and relate to the unpredictable interests of today’s consumers. The answer to this is first-party data.
Unlike other types of tracking data, first-party data is sourced directly from customers. It is collected and owned by the company, through a consent-based process that leverages market research tactics to aggregate and analyse the data.
First-party data is a valuable tool for marketers as it allows for the most accurate, relevant insights for understanding audiences. In today’s always-on environment, it’s important to gauge sentiment straight from consumers to inform the way marketers will engage with them.
Procuring first-party data: what you need to know
Ultimately, you want a first-party data source that can scale. Anyone with a basic understanding of market research knows that a large pool of survey respondents is better than a small group – especially if you need fast, timely insights. The market research industry collects and generates data by investing in new research technology that brings a greater number of vetted respondents to marketers like you.
It’s also important to use first-party data that is granular. Brands must have a thorough understanding of what their consumers are interested in, what actions they take on a daily basis, and other identifying factors that provide more personal insights. Without those identifiers, brands lose the opportunity to connect with consumers in authentic and meaningful ways.
Why do we need both of these elements simultaneously? That’s because authentic consumer sentiment is more vital than ever. Amazon is a good example. It knows what its customers buy and when. Amazon then uses that first-party information to suggest additional purchases and serve ads to those same users on both Amazon-owned properties and the Internet at large. Gated publishers use their first-party information for similar purposes (to serve users relevant content and advertising that will resonate), allowing for a more “personalised” experience.
What will your new marketing plan look like?
Collecting real-time data to make real-time decisions is going to make or break marketing plans in the future. If marketers correctly leverage those insights, they can more effectively optimise media targeting and placements; and with consumer sentiment changing so often, purchase behaviour must be tailored based on those shifts.
You’ll also gain a stronger understanding of niche buying behaviours across verticals. Are Australian consumers still concerned about getting their hands on hand sanitisers and toilet paper? Are they finally feeling comfortable enough to travel again and need new luggage? First-party insights can make you aware of changes in consumer behaviours as they happen. You can even analyse fast-changing consumption patterns by looking at industry conversations and then at your data.
As brands evaluate direct consumer sentiment and consider how major changes in the world are impacting them, it’s important to recognise the similarities and differences between consumer groups. When enacting analytics, brands must integrate a diverse set of information to uncover responses that show the diversity of a consumer base.
The ability to connect with the consumer and to create meaningful campaigns in a post-COVID world has never been more imperative. Using insightful data as a guide can significantly assist brands in their current marketing decisions while providing value-added interactions with consumers and provide valuable insights for future planning.
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