Consumer behaviour has been studied for years. Unfortunately, much of what has been written on the subject comes from a sales perspective. The book Influence, by Robert Cialdini, is a perfect example of this. It sits as the number one result on amazons “consumer behaviour” book category. But consumer behaviour goes much further than ‘reciprocity’. In today’s day an age, a one characterized by information overload, analytics play a huge role in the competitive advantage of a company. The ability to sort through the data and create actionable insights is allowing some companies to excel while others are getting left behind.
Adaptive marketing empowers companies to leverage available data as well as social media to connect with consumers, predict their buying behaviour and improve products and services. But before diving into the ‘how’ we must address some of the traps. With all the buzz around big data nowadays, it is easy to get carried away with collecting as much data as possible. People think to themselves that with more data they will be able to better improve their business making decisions. This is true… but it has its caveats. Over at Semeon, we pride ourselves on our ability to make use of data for the companies we work with. This has been our mission, and since our inception, we have been able to help brands such as P&G, Honda, Toyota, Pepsi, Sephora and many more leverage their data for actionable insights. Through this process, we have learned a great deal and there are five clear traps that people fall into when gathering data:
- Vanity Metrics
- Un-Actionable Insights
- Lack of Statistical Significance
- Not Leveraging it enough
- Misinterpreting it
So how do you properly leverage data in order to understand consumer behaviour? That is what the next section of this article will cover:
Understanding Your Customers
This is where it gets tricky. Avoiding the traps of data and sifting through to what really matters is difficult, so it is important to come in with an understanding of what you want to get out of your data. A few of the most important consumer behavior we can learn through data are as follows:
- What does your customer buy? Do you have a product line? Making the distinction between customers allows you to understand each persona. This is most easily divided by the product choice, but you could take it even further by building multiple personas for an individual product.
- Where do your customers buy from: Is it the website, a 3rd party reseller, on mobile apps, a retail store, etc…? This data point is crucial. This could allow you to further segment your customers and understand each persona on an individual level.
- Why does your customer choose to buy: What is the underlying motivation of a purchasing decision? It’s all about intent: understanding why consumer searches for your product is a good place to start. It’s also important to note here that we all base our buying decisions on two main forms of reasoning; rational and emotional and that emotional reasons often outweigh rational ones.
- Who is your customer really? What are your customers thinking and feeling? The psychology of how customers think, feel, reasons and select between alternatives is not an easy one to understand. Many firms we work with to this day use Semeon Insights for this exact reason. One of the problems is that connecting patterns becomes hard with large amounts of data that we have in today’s day and age.
- How is your customer influenced by their environment: Who are the influencers in the environment that help your customers make decisions? Are they comparison websites. Are they social media influencers? This ties back into ‘why’ your customer chooses to buy.
Understanding this about your customer is nice and all, but where exactly do we gather the information needed to make these conclusions? In the next section, we will focus on a few of the most crucial data points that you need to start collecting if you don’t already and how they can help you better understand your customer.
While a lack of data may not be a problem for most companies, finding good data to leverage is a problem for everyone. This is why Internal Data is such big trend currently. Internal data is that which is gathered from within the company that competitors don’t have access to. This data tends to be a bit more personal and insightful than public data. The following, we consider to be the most personal and can provide some of the most insights into consumer behavior:
- Landing page performance: Landing pages provide insight into how your consumer operates. What are their habits before they purchase? Do they check the FAQ repeatedly? Perhaps that is an indication that the product offering is confusing.
- Customer Reviews: Customer reviews are a great place to start to understand the problems your customers are having and the things they love about your product. They tend to be biased this way either being extremely favorable or unfavorable to your product.
- Surveys: Surveys are a great way of getting personal with your clients and finding out information that you really want to know. You could form each of the points in the aforementioned paragraph into a question to create a whole picture of your customer, although you would need a really dedicated customer to answer a survey of that length.
- Focus groups: Bringing customers together and asking them about products is a great way to learn how they interact with your product and how they are influenced by an environment of their peers.
These points of internal data are crucial to understanding your consumers’ habits.
If you organize data to understand your customers better, you can dramatically increase the amount of business you do. But you need to be gathering the right data and doing a correct job of analyzing it. This is easier said than done. We hope this article provided you with an idea of how you can go about understanding your customers through data. Over at Semeon, we know it isn’t always easy, so if you are interested in receiving a free consultation on how to improve your company’s use of data, we are more than willing to assist and offer insight.