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Customer Insight

Customer Insight

Brand Building And Customer Intent


Customer Experience Strategy

Need and want are subsets of the real motivation I believe we should all be searching for as marketers – and that is intent.

Intent is about what a customer wants to accomplish rather than simply what they want to purchase. Parents want their children to be happy, to have a great childhood, to learn and absorb, and to enjoy time with their friends. That’s a way bigger agenda than just wanting to buy them the latest Star Wars figure or Playskool set.

Actually, toy manufacturers seem to have this alignment of intent and purchase down to a fine art. But applying that thinking elsewhere could offer new opportunities to meet that intent with offers or rewards that are delightful and distinctive.

Try this. Jot down a 6 – 10 point Statement of Intent that summarizes the real things your customers want to see happen when they come to you. Do your offerings and service address and reward those? Really?

Sponsored By: Brand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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Customer Insight

Decision Fatigue: Enemy Of Brands


Edward Boches pointed me in the direction of this thought-provoking article by John Tierney on “decision fatigue”. Decision fatigue happens when ordinary people are asked to make decision after decision after decision. Such processes run down the mental batteries that power our self-control. Eventually it seems, we start looking for shortcuts – either by acting impulsively or by opting to do nothing.

Research on what tires us out the most shows that people would rather compare and contrast options (without making a decision) or verify a decision that has already been made by someone else than make the decision themselves. Once consumers reach a certain level of mental tiredness they stop negotiating. Instead, they make decisions based on the thing that is most important to them. Decision fatigue, it seems, breaks down our reluctance to explore or commit. People soon opt for default settings or suggestions. And the more tough choices there are early in the process, the quicker people opt for the path of least resistance.

All of this has major implications for the ways that brands think about their ranges and their sales processes – specifically, the intensity of choices, timing of those choices, frequency of choices; types of choices (defaults vs calculations) and simplicity of choices.

There are also important compromises to consider. For example, while it might be easy to fatigue someone into making a one-off sale by wearing them out with decisions, what will their experience be in retrospect and will that sale engender loyalty and repeat business and/or word of mouth? Probably not.

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Customer Insight

Discovering The Emotional Impact Of Your Brand


Today’s successful brands almost always deliver customer benefits that are more than just functional. To gain insight into your brand’s values and its emotional, experiential and self-expressive benefits as perceived by its customers, have your customers complete these sentences:

  • “Buying or using this brand makes me feel more […]”
  • “Buying or using this brand makes me feel more connected to […]”
  • “Buying or using this brand reinforces that I am […]”
  • “I am […] for having bought or used this brand”
  • “Buying or using this brand makes me feel more a part of the […] community”
  • “This brand is mostly for people who […]”
  • “The brand believes in […]”
  • “The brand values […]”
  • “This brand really cares about […]”
  • “This brand stands for […]”
  • “I admire this brand because […]”
  • “This brand is bigger than its products or services. It is all about […]”

Compete. Win. Learn. The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley October 17-18, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 50 participants
As in Your marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn

The Brand Positioning Workshop

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Customer Insight

Simulation Marketing


In the old days, marketers sought to identify a target consumer and would then spend millions to catch her at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. Success was like winning the lottery, you were never quite sure what you had until the results were in.

In the digital age, we identify a target market; bombard them with banner ads, online videos and tweets. If we get a good response, we bombard them some more. Has anything really changed?

The truth is that while media has been transformed, marketing practice has not kept pace. We throw budgets into different buckets, but the decision-making process remains much the same. You develop a theory of the case, test it in-market and then, if it goes well, do it some more. A true digital revolution in marketing has yet to take hold, but it has begun.

Who Is The Consumer, Really?

An often-repeated lament has been that we waste half of our advertising budget, but just don’t know which half. It continues to resonate because increasing marketing efficiency is an obvious and compelling way to improve profitability.

Conceptually, the simplest way to increase efficiency is to prevent wastage. By targeting the right consumer at the right time, in the right place, with the right message, we can get the most out of a marketing budget. In other words, fish where the fish are. Put your time, effort and money where they can do the most good.

In practice, however, targeting becomes more problematic. If 60% of your consumers are women, should you ignore men? If 35% of your consumers are 18-24, does that really mean that you should spend all your money on college students? A recent Catalina study found that over half of brand sales come from outside the demographic target.

We need to stop thinking about target consumers and start thinking in terms of consumer networks. Just because the daughter buys it, doesn’t mean the mother (or father or brother) won’t and beyond consumers themselves, there are advocates and detractors that can affect a purchase as well. They all matter.

Consumer Journey Or Drunkard’s Walk?

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Customer Insight

7 Ways To Generate Ideas From Your Customers


1. Observe how customers are using your product. Medical device company Medtronic has salespeople and market researchers regularly observe spine surgeons who use their products and competitive products to learn how to improve their own.

2. Ask customers about their problems with your products. Upon recognizing that consumers were frustrated that potato chips break and are difficult to save after opening the bag, Procter & Gamble designed Pringles to be uniform in size and encased in a protective tennis-ball-type can.

3. Ask customers about their dream products. Ask your customers what they want your product to do—even if the ideal sounds impossible. One 70-year-old camera user told Minolta he would like the camera to make his subjects look better and not show their wrinkles and aging. In response, Minolta produced a camera with two lenses—one for rendering softer images of older subjects.

4. Use a customer advisory board to comment on your company’s ideas. Levi Strauss uses youth panels to discuss lifestyles, habits, values, and brand engagements, while Cisco runs customer forums to improve its offerings.

5. Use websites for new ideas. Companies can use specialized search engines such as Technorati and Daypop to find blogs and postings relevant to their businesses. P&G’s site has “We’re Listening” and “Share Your Thoughts” sections and “Advisory Feedback” sessions to gain advice and feedback from customers.

6. Form a brand community of enthusiasts who discuss your product. Sony engages in collaborative dialogues with consumers to co-develop Sony’s PlayStation 2.

7. Encourage or challenge your customers to change or improve your product. Salesforce.com wants its users to develop and share new software applications using simple programming tools. LSI Logic Corporation, designer of semiconductors and software, provides customers with do-it-yourself toolkits to allow them to design their own specialized chips; and car maker BMW posted a toolkit on its website to let customers develop ideas using telematics and in-car online services.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Philip and Milton Kotler, excerpted from their book, Market Your Way To Growth with permission from Wiley Publishing.

Sponsored byThe Brand Storytelling Workshop

Join us at The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley May 16-17, 2013 in San Diego, California
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 100 participants
As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn

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