“I don’t know who my customer is,” said no one ever.
The way that we reach potential customers has changed ten-fold over the last decade with the speed of technology and the rise of social platforms.
However, the typical customer insights and personas that companies utilize as a part of their business plan have failed to evolve and keep up with the times.
The Old School Customer Insights
The typical customer insights that we see at our agency is a nicely laid out and well-designed buyer persona that consists of a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. It’s not a real customer but a fictional person who embodies the characteristics of your best potential customers. Information such as a person’s name and demographic details like age, income level, education, interests, and behavioral traits are included. Some personas may go deeper and have customer goals and pain points.
For businesses that are just starting, this is a good starting point for growth. But for those established businesses, these made-up personas are far too often neglected, rarely updated, and do not see the light of day in any sales or marketing meetings. This is a costly mistake that will cost companies thousands, if not millions of dollars in the long term.
Here’s why: these types of traditional buyer personas are just a fancy way to display obvious insights with biased perceptions and generalized data on a framework created over 60 years ago to help sell magazines and network television spots.
These outdated personas lack a glimpse into the actual buying process that a potential customer goes through when looking for and comparing a service or product like you’re offering.
The Power of Customer Insights
Thanks to the internet, customers hold the power and choose how and when they will engage with your marketing efforts, which is creating urgency for companies to reconsider their approach to discovering and applying new customer insights into their brand strategy.
Take Toms, for example. Toms is famous for creating and pioneering the one-for-one model, which has been widely adopted by other large brands like Warby Parker and Bombas. But thanks to new and updated customer insights, Toms announced in April that they are pivoting their business and will no longer offer the one-for-one model. This very model grew their company into a mega $400 million per year industry. Instead, they will donate one-third of their annual net profits to grassroots organizations that align with their customer’s core values. This pivot was fueled by research, surveys, and interviews on the current values of their Gen-Z and young millennial consumers.
“The focus is: How do we become most relevant to Gen Z?” said Ian Stewart, CMO of Toms. “And, at the same time: How can we become more nimble and flexible to be able to address the changing times, which is what Gen Z expects brands to do?”
The research employed for their rebrand strategy included working with outside companies to define the Toms’ customers and what they care about, which also led to one-on-one interviews with Gen-Z shoppers.
“Bringing new eyeballs in is something we haven’t been doing for the longest time,” said Stewart. “But the [brand’s] new owners have stressed the importance of having a fully stacked funnel, so we’ll be bringing that to life.”
Gaining a Fresh Perspective
Customers expect a high-quality experience that accompanies high-quality products and services. Being able to lean on data and consumer insights are the tools needed to provide the answers to help your business stay ahead of the competition. Insights can be vital to answering questions such as:
- How does our audience perceive our brand?
- What would customers think of a new product or service offering?
- Can we expand into a new market?
- What can we do to increase the conversion rates of our marketing campaigns?
- How can we sell or add on an existing product or service to our current customers?
- What are our existing competitors doing in the market that we need to know?
- What are the benchmarks for our industry, and how do we compare?
When you answer these questions, you’ll be provided with an opportunity to personalize and tailor your business offerings to the needs, wants, and demands of your customers. According to Microsoft, organizations that leverage their customer behavior to generate insights outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth.
Are you ready to discover and apply insights into your brand strategy? Contact our team to learn more about using insights to enhance and strengthen your customer relationships and drive revenue.