Understanding Consumer Needs

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By Erica Mbuzwana, Business Unit Director, LIVE+

As the Connected Activation™ Agency of the future, the first step in being able to answer a brief is to truly understanding what our customers’ needs are. This can be broken into two customer categories: Understanding our clients’ needs and their target customer needs. Now, many may at this point be asking “But that is what the agency brief is for?”

Many times a brief only addresses the immediate brand needs and the campaign objectives. Digging deeper into the business needs helps us uncover what the true requirements are in order to meet and exceed client and campaign expectations.

With the changes in customers and the way we approach the way we talk to them they are key things that we need to be cognisant of:

  • Customers are less loyal and far less trusting than they used to be.
  • Consumers have more power than ever before, thanks to social media and an explosion of choices.
  • Customer diversity continues to increase, putting a premium on deep customer insight.

Understanding your customer through data obtained through statistics or LSM studies may not be enough to answer your brief.

True qualitative insights are not gathered on websites but through placing yourself in your customer’s environment and truly understanding the dynamics and the mindset of the customer  in their day-to-day lives.

Some things to consider when doing this are:

  • Which customer am I speaking to in the value chain?
  • What brands are they exposed to?
  • What are the price points of each?
  • How is the brand consumed/purchased?
  • What are the purchase deciding factors?

Once the above have been established, visit the customer’s environment and immerse yourself fully into their lives. Most times we tend to conclude our findings from the comfort of our desk without having context of the various environments. For example, the formal store environment is completely different to that of a wholesale environment even though the journey to purchase is the same, so” the plug and play” approach will not work for both.

After looking at the environments, select to speak to your customer. Sometimes the one insight that you are looking for, comes through discussions. This is an opportunity to probe and really dive deep into your customers mind. Utilise these insights and truths to form the base of your campaign.

Finally once all the plans for your marketing campaign have been finilised, it pays to test your theory within the customer environment. Clients invest millions on campaigns and it is comforting to know that the campaign will be a success prior to activating at a larger scale. Negotiate to run the first two weeks as a campaign pilot, gather insights and feedback that you can use to fine tune your campaign in order to truly speak to your customers’ needs and deliver against the brand and campaign objectives.


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On June 3, 2015
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