Why are marketers ignoring consumers?

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Data, big data, whatever you want to call it, is costing brands a lot of customers and leading to bad marketing.[/inlinetweet] Too many brands are drowning in data that they can’t see their customers and they are losing prospects because they are afraid to get a cup of coffee without having big data to support their decisions. 

I recently purchased my 6th Subaru because I love the brand.  As part of the sales process, they sent me a link to an online survey, but rather than ask the standard demographic questions they asked what magazines I liked, what I did for leisure time and even what type of foods I liked.  They are building a psychographic database of their customers and incorporating the answers into a monthly magazine that brings the customer closer to the brand.  That is what marketing is all about.

I had a client who hired us to sift through a ton of data and presentations and condense it into actionable insights.  The problem was there weren’t many actionable insights.  I decided to try something so I took the VP of marketing along with a couple of product managers on a three day road trip.  We visited retail outlets where their product was sold and watched consumers compare his product to others (frozen pizza). We also noted where his product was placed in relation to competitors’ products.

What did we find out?  The packaging of their product tended to be hidden by competitors who had a full color picture.  Their product showed the frozen pizza, which was not enticing and the different combinations have been often hard for shoppers to see.  It resulted in a whole new approach to packaging, which, so far, has tested really well.

Whenever I go to the market I love to watch people shop.  You can often observe what interests them and what products make it to their shopping cart versus the ones that go back on the shelf.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Marketers have become too far removed from this experience.  Instead, they rely on big data to try and quantify consumer behavior which is not quantifiable. [/inlinetweet]

You need to get out and watch people shop and talk to them.  I have found that most people are happy to talk with you about why their shopping habits and experiences with certain brands.  For example, when we worked for an ice cream brand that was losing share we wanted to find out why.  We found, after talking to several people, that they wouldn’t buy the product because too often the ice cream had freezer burn.  In other words, there was a problem in distribution that no amount of marketing was going to change.

Big data is fine, but if it takes you too long to analyze it to come up with actionable insights it’s wasting trees.   There is nothing better than watching consumers first hand rather than relying on data that may or may not help you sell your product.



About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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