Consumer Empowerment is Marketing

Customer psychology in essence is the study of the way people think, act, decide, and make purchases.

It has everything to do with motivation, mind tricks, color, placement, filtering, eye tracking studies, and web design.

For many marketers, its easy to forget that consumers are real people on the other side of the TV, radio, smart phone or computer screen. Marketers need to understand and speak to people, not just chase numbers.

There are still a few online marketing companies and brands who think they can get away with shady tactics. Between overwhelming email spam and over the top ads, short term you may attract a few people, however the damage done will be forever lasting.

Consumers are wiser and more connected thanks to social media than ever. They’re still bombarded with aggressive marketing messaging, but they are empowered with anti-spam and ad blockers tools to keep shady brands to a minimum.

Marketing today is about consumer empowerment.

By the time a consumer makes it to an eCommerce website or a retail store, consumers are 60% through their buying journeys with their minds made on what and why they are going to purchase. Consumers have a wealth of resources at their fingertips. No matter where they are in the world, they can access an infinite number of customer reviews, blog posts, and competitor websites.

That’s why it’s so important for brands to make their content accessible and available — in the exact moment where their customers have questions. It’s not enough, however, to simply produce content, today, people have infinite resources at their disposal.

When online audiences want information, they want it now in the exact moment that they have a question and they want quality information not brand speak of features and benefits.

This can be accomplished in two ways:

When pushing information, make sure that you’re targeting the right stage of where the consumer is in the purchase cycle. This requires some level of prediction and intuition about what decisions your consumer are making and when.

The second approach that brands can take is to be available where customers are asking questions. That means optimizing your website, being available on social media, answering questions in numerous social channels where your target audience resides. When people ask questions, they’re generally turning to Google and similar search engines. Make sure that your answer is front and center, readily available — whether it’s a blog post or whitepaper.

Every brand regardless of its market size need to make sure that they’re creating and distributing the right information to the right consumer at the right time. If you publish information on a topic that your consumer is already educated about and don’t add the supplemental details that they’re seeking, you just wasted their time and gave them the equivalent of nothing.

Consumers process information at lightning speed. We have inherently, impenetrable noise blockers that keep us focused on the information that we want and need.
Consumers can spot BS from a mile away.

Consumers are constantly on the lookout for valuable information, they are always looking to learn and grow in our careers and personal lives. We want to be entertained and we love brands that can make us laugh.

Brands that obnoxiously push product with no value add usually fail and deserve to.

Consumers are constantly bombarded with aggressive marketing messaging and sales pitches and will power through the noise. They’ll hit the ‘delete’ or ‘unsubscribe’ button and never, ever look back.

Success starts with understanding what motivates us as shoppers.

Consumers care about products, services, and businesses that add value to their lives. They hold on to our time and money closely and are unwilling to give up either for a poor or inferior product or quick fix.

Consumers need to see a clear and compelling benefit that stands up to the promised marketing message.

Prior to making a purchase consumers are asking:

  • What’s in it for me?
  • What will I get from using your product?
  • What product will give me the biggest benefit for the time and money that I’m investing?

Life is stressful, people are busy running errands, working their tails off, dealing with kids and family issues; dealing with the needs of parents and other. Today, moments of pure joy are tougher and tougher to find. When we find those moments of pure happiness, a few minutes can feel like several exhilarating hours and we carry that feeling with us for hours.

The day of a hired professional spokesperson driving sales are over.

We trust the opinion of our friends and family. Today, consumers work from personal recommendations to start their product searches rather than just walking into a retail store and grabbing something off the shelf or trusting a hired spokesperson. We crave the guidance of our peers and mentors.

Peer and family influences results in consumers questioning:

  • What products are my friends using?
  • What would my best friend think of this?
  • Would my mom give this her seal of approval?
  • How do I know if I can trust this brand?

The word “you” in marketing that helps brands build an instant rapport with their audiences. The word shows that you are invested in your audience and care about their well-being.

How a company interacts or does not interact directly with a Consumer generates the concerns and questions they have:

  • Does this company care about me?
  • Does this company understand me?
  • Has this company designed this product for me and my needs?
  • Is the Company pushing a product that

Past experiences with a brand drives future behavior. A great experience drives repeat business, just as a bad experience opens the door to competitive offerings. Even when we’re exposed to a new brand or product, we rely on our memories to make the right judgment calls about what we should and should not buy.

The Internet has a lot of bad characters and brands that are known for being sketchy. Even if your company is legitimate, consumers are going to questions your motives. Until you prove otherwise, you are — in their eyes — a spam site.

They are concerned and rightfully so about:

  • How do I know that this site won’t rip me off?
  • How long has this company been around?
  • Is my personal data safe?
  • Do I feel ok giving these people my credit card number?
  • What if they are selling an inferior product?

When consumers visit your website, they usually are not be ready to make an immediate purchase. As with many things in business, traffic that immediately turns into revenue are not always that simple. The path to a sale if full of twist and turns.

Building trust and a relationship with the consumer is a requirement today.

Consumers are exploring and they are definitely not ready to buy. At this point, they are gathering information, researching options, and learning about your brand. Its a first date. You’re not ready to commit to a first kiss, much less a marriage, or even a second date.

Most consumers at this stage are not going to do business with you.

As consumers become more familiar with you, your brand and what it stands for, the number of interested buyers will become smaller and smaller. To capture consumers at this stage you need to cast your net wide using multiple marketing avenues and tools.

Your company and product won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. Only a proportion of your prospects will make it to this funnel stage — and that’s okay.

At this point in the consumers are evaluating your brand, what you stand for, the company culture, the product mix and deciding whether they want to do business with you. They’re far from committed to a decision, but they’re interested in learning about you and your brand.

How do you turn this interest into the small proportion of paying customers?

Build a community around your customer base, encourage social sharing, and always find ways to welcome your existing customers back and re-engage past customers.

Just remember that consumers approach personal social networks more casually to connect with friends, share funny moments, and kill time.

Pushing a marketing message is a guaranteed brand killer.

Move forward with the goal to keep consumers engaged, happy, feeling good about themselves, and entertained.

The days of broadcasted marketing messages are over. Consumers are busy and don’t have time to sift through the volumes of information that they come across every day.

The most effective way to inspire a response from your audience is to reach them 1:1.

Step back and imagine that you’re talking to your targeted consumer as a friend or family member when crafting your marketing plan and messaging. This will help you humanize your approach and copy.

Conversation with friends are much more engaging. We’d much rather be joking around with friends over dinner, during coffee, drinking craft beers together. If you fixate on the formalities, you will bury the heart and soul of your marketing message and slowly but surely kill your brand.

Spray-and-prey marketing is the norm rather than the exception. It’s way too easy to broadcast a message to 1000 people instead of talking to people 1:1. That’s why marketers and creative agencies do it.

The problem is that this approach will quickly fall flat. What many fail to realize is the human eye is trained to resist half-hearted, generic marketing.

When planning out your marketing strategy, make it personal.

Just be you, and let the people behind your company shine through.

Follow me on twitter at:

Like what you read? Give Carol Forden a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.