An often-under-appreciated customer feedback project is exploring lifestyle preferences to build detailed customer personas. Modern consumers have rich, full lives and consumer segmentation opportunities exist far beyond traditional demographics. Building strong relationships is all about knowing the individuals who engage with your brand, so developing customer profiles that include attributes outside of your immediate interests or bottom-line objectives will offer more well-rounded context of how your brand fits into consumers’ lives.
In addition to learning more about your customers for relationship building, there are new value-add opportunities to explore and potential threats to uncover that might be flying under the radar.
From the standpoint of value-add opportunities, by understanding how your brand is relevant to the lives of consumers, you’ll paint a more detailed picture of how and when your product or service is being used. Thinking outside those micro-moments will reveal experiences or pain points that may not be directly related to your brand but can be addressed by your brand. This expanded reach of benefits becomes a competitive advantage because the more areas of life your product or service can touch, the more value it adds to the consumer.
On the other side of the brand engagement spectrum, a deeper understanding of consumers’ lives will help identify defection windows and unseen competitors that threaten market share. Being consumers ourselves, we see the variety of options available to us and acknowledge there is more than one way to satisfy a need. So, in the increasingly competitive consumer market, it’s no longer enough to stay in one lane and focus on one value proposition. By exploring customer lifestyle preferences, we can identify alternative solutions to the needs we address, and probe into the other brands being considered. These details will build a more detailed competitive framework highlighting the competitors and threats that warrant immediate attention.
The Big Question: Do your customer profiles have enough depth and detail for strategic marketing?
My previous post covered brand awareness and perception, which is a necessary first step in any strategic brand development initiative. This is an important first step because it offers a deeper look into your target market regarding what people know, think, and feel about your brand segmented by key customer attributes. Whether focusing on demographic or psychographic attributes, this information will be the foundation for building strategic and targeted marketing campaigns.
If 80% of the general consumer population have heard of your brand, the obvious question is who are those 20% of remaining customers? Through brand awareness segmentation we identify key demographic details about that remaining segment and can launch a targeted marketing campaign focused on raising awareness within that specific group. Similarly, general perception data only scratches the surface of what is needed to build effective marketing content. It’s the same with sales data, purchase history, online engagement, defection, and every other performance metric; there must be segmentation to fully understand and act upon these insights.
Circling back to the focus of this post – customer lifestyle habits and preferences – we must conduct segmentation analysis and build detailed customer profiles to best connect, engage, and serve our target consumer groups. Gathering customer feedback that reaches beyond purchase habits and decision drivers will provide the exterior details needed to humanize and personalize the target audience. As previously mentioned, these efforts support our pursuit of tangible and intangible brand objectives alike. So, gathering customer lifestyle feedback and creating detailed customer profiles is not a “nice-to-have” document, it’s a must-have for any brand looking to be relevant and stay relevant within their increasingly competitive marketplace.
Here is a real-world example pulled from a 2020 Case Study:
A retail brand specializing in camping equipment was consistently tracking what, when, and where their products are purchased. But there was an important element missing; WHY are the purchases are made. Yes, the obvious answer is “because consumers are going camping” but this brand realized there was more to the story that could be used to strengthen relationships and improve brand relevance.
Some consumers live adventurous lifestyles and want to challenge themselves by exploring the outdoors. Other consumers are recreational campers who simply enjoy getting fresh air from time-to-time. Then there are the new, inexperienced campers who are unsure of what they are doing and need guidance. Each of these consumer groups may purchase the same product at the same retail location, but their reasons for purchasing are distinctly different.
Understanding these different lifestyle attributes became a competitive advantage because branded content, experiential management, and customer journey mapping was developed with higher levels of personalization than simply relying on the what and where aspects of consumer behavior.
Starting with their most popular products, this brand began sending follow-up emails to customers asking about their outdoor experience levels and how they plan to use the product. Even though the product was considered a mid-level to experienced user product, it turns out that most buyers were beginners who hadn’t yet planned a trip. Rather, the purchase was made with hopes of motivating themselves to plan a trip. These insights were contrary to the brand’s previous understanding and opened the door for value-add features to be included along with the purchase of this product.
Moving forward, specific resources, guidance, and recommendations were offered along with the purchase of this product. The result was an increase in return business to purchase complementary products and the development of relationships with local outdoor activity companies.
All of this resulted from simply asking WHY customers made their purchase and seeking to understand how that product fits into the bigger picture of their lives.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll continue sharing ideas and recommendations for a variety of customer feedback topics with hopes it will provide guidance for you next project. As always, I’m happy to chat further about any of these topics and would love a chance to hear what you’re working on. Feel free to give us a shout any time!