Understanding what your audience wants is paramount to creating a successful marketing campaign. No matter what medium you’re using, what message you’re sending, or what marketing firm you’ve contracted, knowing what your customers and fans want can mean the difference between profit and loss. However, a new Harvard Business Review article just published this week is blowing up everything we know about marketing to your target audience.
What Does Your Audience Want?
Market research is one of the most vital steps that you can take when developing your marketing plan. There is truly no way to know what your audience wants without simply asking them, examining their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and every aspect of their demographic. Asking the right questions and quantifying their answers can offer a wealth of information on what your audience wants.
With that wealth of information, you began to build your marketing plan to determine how you will reach your target audience, how you will affect them, what mediums you will use, what message you will send, and your call to action. Within this marketing plan you’ll have a set of marketing strategies that build brand loyalty, brand equity, and brand advocates. Because, after all, your goal is not only to sell a product but create a strong relationship with each customer, guaranteeing a fan for life who will not only continue to buy your product, but promote your product at the same time.
The Harvard Study
According to the Harvard Business Review, in a study involving more than 7000 consumers, they found that companies often have wrong ideas about how best to engage with customers. The Review states that developing relationships with consumers through engagement and interaction is the wrong strategy to use when marketing. Here is their take on things:
Myth #1: Most Consumers Want To Have Relationships With Your Brand
Only 23% of the consumers in our study said they have a relationship with a brand. In the typical consumer’s view of the world, relationships are reserved for friends, family and colleagues.
Our Take: Most Consumers Want To Feel Connected and Appreciated By Your Brand
While this study makes some interesting points, from our own experience, as well as numerous studies conducted over many years, consumers do, in fact, want to have an experience with your brand. Starbucks would not be nearly as successful a brand today if it was not for their amazing brand equity with fans. Their consumers chose their coffee, though perhaps overpriced and perhaps not as good as the mom-and-pop coffee shop down the street, because of that brand equity. Starbucks has cultivated such a strong relationship with its fans that they can truly do not wrong.
You absolutely must build a relationship with your audience. You absolutely must create fans who will stick with your brand through thick and thin. It is a relationship where the audience has the freedom to leave at any time, however if you’ve developed trust and equity with that audience, they are far more likely to stick with your brand though logo chances, price changes, CEO changes, and everything else.
Myth #2: Interactions Build Relationships.
Myth #3: The More Interaction the Better.
There’s no correlation between interactions with a customer and the likelihood that he or she will be “sticky” (go through with an intended purchase, purchase again, or recommend). Yet, most marketers behave as if there is a continuous linear relationship between the number of interactions and share of wallet.
Our Take: Interactions and Remaining In The Vision of Your Audience Will Build Brand Equity.
There is a point to which many business owners step over the line regarding interactions, overloading a consumer’s inbox with emails or posting too many times a day on Facebook. It’s easy to fall into the trap that if you overload a consumer with your brand message, they will be more inclined to click on your link every time or purchase your product from every email. We agree with the Harvard study regarding this fact, however building a strong relationship through consistent interaction is a key element of successful marketing.
Building that audience relationship does involve a great deal of interaction and a consistency in brand messaging. Recently the Wall Street Journal published an article reviewing the email cutback that big brand such as J.C. Penney and retailer Nicole Miller are enforcing. Instead of sending out an email a day, they both have cut back to three per week. They are still in the minds of their customers, but in a less aggressive manner.
While the Harvard Business Review article was interesting to read, at Quaintise we’ve found that it is absolutely paramount to build a strong relationship with every single customer through consistent messaging, engagement and interaction. Confused or have questions? Give us a call!