Learning From Behaviors of Consumers ‘in the Wild’

Kimberly Surico |
 11/02/15 |
3 min read

Focus groups aren’t inherently bad – but they’re ultimately all about the brand, and today’s social-obsessed consumers want marketing to be all about THEM. Here’s how you do that:

Brands need to change THEIR attitudes if they want consumers to keep them in mind – which means embracing a new approach to audience marketing, as outlined in our new white paper, The New Normal: Audience Marketing in the Age of You. Here’s a sneak peek…

Social data safari

Just like watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom offers insights on animal behaviors you can’t see at your local zoo, studying consumer behaviors ‘in the wild’ on social media gives brands and marketers a wealth of insights that focus groups and surveys just can’t capture – like what they feel, talk about, care about, want, need, and desire.

Here’s why this information is better:

Broader sampling of data – How diverse can a group of 6-10 people be? Not nearly diverse enough to compete with the millions of people on social media.

Real-time insights – Consumer opinions change course constantly – influenced by what people experience going about their daily lives. By the time brands analyze focus group data, it’s already irrelevant.

Ability to be everywhere – 10 people at a focus group in New York City may not have the same opinions as 10 people in rural Idaho, but brands can’t possibly afford to be everywhere in person. Luckily, with social data at their disposal, they don’t need to be.

But those are just the basics. The information brands really need – to engage consumers and differentiate from competitors – goes beyond the surface data of brand mentions on social.
Because it’s not just about how consumers interact with brands – it’s about what they’re saying that RELATES to brands.

Go personal or go home

This is where brands need to dig deeper than gender/age/geography demographics. Because it’s this ‘wild’ data that allows brands to really connect with consumers by creating individualized segments based on what consumers themselves are sharing – not just about brands, but about THEMSELVES.

For example, Coke might target millennials, because their research tells them they should. But if they take into account more than just the generation factor – looking at millennials’ likes, dislikes, wants, needs, passions, and behaviors (beyond mentions of Coke) – they can discover additional segments to target more personally.

So instead of simply targeting millennials who enjoy Coke with broad marketing messages, they can target segments of millennials who drink soft drinks while:

  • Working out
  • Hanging with friends
  • Eating pizza (or Buffalo wings, etc.)
  • Playing Minecraft
  • Watching New Girl, etc.

The more focused the audience, the more resonant the messaging will be to that segment. Personal and human is the name of the game.

But more than that, in looking at social data beyond their own brand – like mentions of their competitors – they may also discover unlikely audiences they never knew existed.

They could even enlist the help of consumers to create a new product – like 7-Eleven did.

The story of how social listening helped create the SOUR PATCH Watermelon flavored Slurpee is detailed in our new white paper, as is more about how observing consumers ‘in the wild’ can change the way brands connect with them on social media.

To read all about it, download The New Normal: Audience Marketing in the Age of You today or reach out for more information. We’re ready to help your brand dig deeper on social when you are!

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