Today’s consumer often has conflicting expectations. They exist in a world with a real FOMO so they desperately want to be hyper-connected, yet at the same time they don’t want to be ‘marketed to’ when they are connected. Given this reality, how do brand marketers achieve cut through to connect with their customers? What strategies should they be adopting, and what technologies do they need to leverage to become top of mind with a consumer who no longer cares what they have to say? In this context, I believe there are three key challenges businesses are facing right now:
- Understanding customers through data
- Getting to grips with what a customer perceives as valuable
- Delivering to customers insatiable quest for even better brand experiences
Understanding customers through data
Challenge number one ‘big data’ does not automatically mean great insight. In fact, any data does not mean great insight. Most businesses have transactional data, advertising data, and customer data yet are struggling to discover what is important to their customers, why their customers are behaving in a certain way and what they want next.
We see many Kiwi businesses have great success but have a limited understanding as to why they are successful. What they really lack is an understanding of who their customer is, what makes them tick and why their customers are doing what they are doing.
In many cases engaging with their customer, speaking with them, observing them or immersing in their world can often provide the answers to these questions but more importantly give a steer on what they want next from you.
Getting to grips with what a customer perceives as valuable
This understanding of why leads us to challenge number two, which is that consumers are hungry for great brand experiences. Consumers are now hyper-connected and expect more of the brands they engage with every day. They want to move seamlessly between digital and real world situations, expecting brands to keep up and know who they are.
This is challenging as digital technologies provide consumers a new lens on brands and new ways to engage every day. There’s the opportunity for brand relationships to evolve because of technology. Consumers crave the utility of digital interfaces yet they love having real world immersive brand and product experiences.
The trick here is to know when they want to speak to a person and when they just want a ‘teflon’ digital experience. The balance is hard to find and varies wildly by category, brand and product.
The insatiable quest for great brand experiences
Driving the balance leads us to challenge number three, the consumer‘s new value equation. This is not necessarily a challenge. In fact it could be an opportunity to bring margin back into a category. Consumers who expect more from brands are also happy to pay more. Who would have thought it!
Just look at what Nadia Lim has done to the preparation of meals. Consumers are paying more, much more for food but she has removed the thought. What a service. I get a great meal, that is easy to prepare and I really don‘t have to think too much about the ingredients I have in the fridge because they are already there. She hasn‘t destroyed grocery but she has bought margin back into a category where there wasn‘t much.
This layering of service experience and digital utility has proven incredibly successful here and in many other areas. Truly understanding the pain point of scrambling ingredients together has led to this higher margin technology led service innovation. The key takeaway here is that people will pay where they see value and that value is no longer simply wrapped up in the product.
To tackle these challenges businesses need to talk to people, talk to each other and talk to their customers. They need to look for the ‘whys?‘ and ‘what nexts?'. They need to continually strive to understand how their customers' relationship with their brands are constantly evolving with digital technologies so they can innovate and provide better value for their customers and more growth through margin for themselves.
If you want to understand more about your customers - drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org and come have a coffee