What do we mean by “connecting with your consumer”?

David Bernardino
Jun 18, 2019 · 3 min read
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So I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of buzzwords about “customer centricity”, “connecting with your consumers”, and other such marketing jargon. Have you asked yourself a very simple question — “what does this mean”?

For some, it’s spending time with them. Whether it’s doing research (focus groups) or actually living with them, these are common ways to connect with them. For others, it’s looking at reams of quantitative data in the hopes of garnering an indisputable truth that can be used to justify certain business / marketing decisions. In both cases, one typically sees someone, usually a market researcher, to conduct the research and then to distill the information in such a way that makes the research “actionable”.

However, in my experience, you typically get a lot of recommendations that are long-winded, not truly actionable, or not rooted in the realities of the business (i.e. they’re just put out there in isolation without any clear context and / or understanding about the brand). You get this a lot in the world of messaging strategy — a study might say your brand needs to be more “innovative”, so you start putting those claims out there even though being innovative is only one piece of the problem.

So how do we address this, because there’s a ton of money, risk, and reputation that’s riding on these decisions?

At the end of the day, we, as marketers, are in the “behavior change” business.

You’re probably asking yourself, “what the hell is this guy saying?” Let me explain. Our job is to change a consumer’s behavior from what she’s doing today to something else. That “something else” is typically one of the following:

  • Try my brand

If you know your business well enough, you should be able to answer three fundamental questions about your consumer:

  • How does she think about your brand today?

Now with this framework, outline what you want her to think, feel, and do with respect to your brand in the future (i.e. after she’s exposed to your marketing campaign, innovation, etc). So we’re now at the tough part. Ask yourself why is she not engaging in the behavior that you want her to do? Tough question, right?

This is where research comes into play. What’s probably getting in the way is a trial barrier, an unmet need, or some other issue that’s getting in the way. Put it another way, if there weren’t these issues, she’d probably be engaging in your desired behavior right now.

So go find it. Challenge yourself, your team, and your external partners to find the answers to these questions. Because, if you can, you’ve well on your way to developing strategies, campaigns, and marketing initiative that will fundamentally grow your business.

And if you’re having problems with this or need another set of eyes on your specific problem, please drop me a line. I’d be more than happy to help.

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