Society is constantly fluctuating, and your messaging should change with the times to maintain relevancy. Ignoring or missing social cues as they gain prominence is a quick way to take a backseat to the competition. You must work to stay in tune with changing societal needs, and targeted market research is how you do it. Keep your branded content up to date by identifying gaps in social content and messaging. Here’s how!
We’ll explore how your market research can help you identify these gaps to better meet the needs of your consumers. Specifically, we’ll focus on:
- How to “mind the gap”
- Why messaging gaps grow with neglect and to prevent it
- Ways to master brand messaging with market research
For insight into the state of brand messaging, here are a few content marketing statistics to keep in mind as we go along:
- According to a 2016 survey by the Content Marketing Institute, only 43% of B2C marketers felt they had clarity on the success of their content marketing. 31% said they did not have clarity and 27% were unsure.
- In a study released this year, 84% of marketers stated they have an active content marketing strategy in place. However, only 11% of those rated their effectiveness as excellent.
- In the same survey, 51% of marketers said they struggle with creating content that attracts quality leads, 47% feel their content doesn’t drive enough traffic, and 43% wrestle with generating subject matter that resonates with their target audience.
To craft content that hits home with your audience, you need to find holes in the conversations – places where their needs have been left to languish. Point your market research into the void, and you’ll be on target to creating brand messaging that explicitly targets neglected audiences in areas that others have missed or been too timid to address. Let’s take a look!
Mind the Gap
Generally speaking, your brand messaging must keep up with the times, or you’re toast. It’s evident from the statistics above that roughly half of marketers are having a hard time getting their messaging to stick.
Marketers have grown slightly more comfortable with their content marketing over the last few years. Still, nearly 90% haven’t settled in enough to call their messaging “excellent.” Too often, marketers are playing catch up and are using their market research to mimic other brands that are achieving resonance.
The real question lies in not what others are doing to gain traction, but how they are looking at the conversational landscape in the first place to sort these angles out. The reason they are gaining traction and others aren’t is because they are finding and filling in the conversational gaps that exist between the unheard and the marketing status quo. In other words, they are minding the gap.
The phrase “mind the gap” originated as a slogan for the UK’s London Underground rapid transit system. It was meant as a reminder to passengers to pay attention to the gap between the platform and the train itself – but it has marketing connotations as well.
There are often wide gaps between consumer needs and the products or services offered to them by brands. The brands that are creating content that everyone else mimics are the ones exploring these conversational gaps and doing something about it.
To be fair, sometimes these conversations are avoided by brands because they’re culturally sensitive, stigmatized or risqué. Take the breastfeeding conversation, for example. It gets lots of traction online from new mothers seeking help, but not many brands step in to contribute. Here’s a look into the top conversational clusters over the last thirty days to see the nature of the questions they’re concerned with.
So, what’s the takeaway here? In addition to the typical new mother questions, there is a lot of conversation in this dataset around the disconnect between the legality of public breastfeeding and the ridicule or inhospitality they face in their daily lives.
Notably, this space is conspicuously absent of brands making these women feel like they’ve been heard. In other words, this is a gap.
Whether it’s this subject or one like it, when one brand, propelled by market research, embraces the narrative and approaches it with understanding … something magical happens. Consumers react because it’s a subject that means a lot to them, and they’ve watched in frustration as brands and institutions tiptoe around it. That translates to clicks, views and traction. It’s the holy grail of marketing – consumer love.
And sometimes, just a passing nod, an acknowledgment, will do the trick.
Often enough though, that’s when the copycats finally throw off their shell and try to join in. But that’s too little, too late if you want to be a first mover and generate content that thrills.
Consumers love to see brands speak to their needs in a public capacity. They know that your brand has a vocal reach that they don’t have on a personal level. And as long as brands ignore the elephants in the room, the frustration grows. Let’s talk about that.
Messaging Gaps Grow with Neglect
When brands speak to a subject, it helps to steer the narrative by generating discussion and providing a framework for it to occur. That’s the goal, at least with any content marketing, to move the needle.
Conversations that are missed or neglected take on a life of their own, often relegated to niche areas online where like-minded individuals have gathered around their common needs. And these conversations aren’t just limited to touchy subjects either. For instance, technology presents its own unique gaps by way of unaddressed compatibility issues, hardware/software support and absentee customer service, to name a few.
Where do people turn to when they need to fix something? Forums. Use your market research and social media listening to dig into these conversations for insight on your products and category to find areas of need. Here we ran an analysis in Quid Social on posts last month that mention “how to fix.” Reddit is the top platform that users turned to and takes up 37% of posts.
Forums, and Reddit in particular, are the go-to sources for information on products or societal pains that need addressing. And these communities and conversations snowball while users look for answers. Pointing your social listening tools to where they’re congregating allows you to create precise messaging that meets a genuine need. You get traction and consumer love, and they get answers and recognition.
However, left unattended, these conversations can go anywhere. Social strains fester looking for redemption, and brand-related or category gaps can cause users to grow apathetic and look elsewhere.
In a nutshell, if you don’t mind the gap and address these missing elements in your messaging, you’re missing out on traction opportunities. Additionally, if the void is left to grow unchecked between your product and your consumer, then you’re already in danger of appearing out of touch.
Let’s see what it looks like to get it right.
Mastering Brand Messaging with Market Research
Some brands go for broke and build out their business into the gap. They see unattended conversations and use them as an opportunity for growth. That’s what Swedish brand Frida Mom did. Their products are geared for mothers and babies but where they’ve really extended into the gap was with postnatal care and products for mothers.
So, what did their marketing department come up with to give a voice to the voiceless? They aired a commercial about breastfeeding during the 2021 Golden Globes back at the end of February. That should tickle the heart of any marketer for sure.
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They didn’t hold back either. The commercial confronted the issue head-on on behalf of moms everywhere, right on prime time. It raised awareness, broke with traditional network taboos, and said – hey, we’re going to talk about this. It brought normalization to unheard mothers everywhere. And social media users loved them for it.
The second comment above hits the nail on the head about how unheard consumers feel when brands speak to their wants, needs and struggles. Respect.
Gap conversations are everywhere, and your market research will lead you right to their doorstep. Some have been left alone because they are touchy subjects, while others simply remain unnoticed. The thing is, you don’t have to go prime time out of the gate as Frida Mom did. Test the waters and find where you start to get traction. Start small and build your messaging out when you find an area that resonates with your target audience.
If you want to master your brand messaging, you may need to reexamine the way you approach your market research. Don’t be afraid to get out of your brand and category conversations to look for gaps. You aren’t looking for narratives with lots of brand traction anyway. Ultimately, you are looking for stories and ways to include your brand into the dialogue. Find ways to give voice to these stories you uncover. Let them become the messaging. Get creative.
Does your brand struggle with content marketing and brand messaging? Reach out for a demo, and we’ll put you behind the wheel of sophisticated social listening tools that empower your market research and identify gap conversations with precision.