Sometimes it’s hard for marketers to think like consumers. As the individuals behind the commercial, billboard, logo, display, digital, print or radio ad, whatever it may be, it is nearly impossible to act as a regular consumer and refrain from analyzing the functionality of it. In that sense, we are not your average consumer, so how do we effectively market to consumers when we ourselves don’t seem to think that way?
Try on a lot of shoes
As the old saying goes, to truly gain a sense of understanding, you have to walk a day in someone else’s shoes. This saying is just as effective for gaining empathy as it is for marketers. To truly understand your target, you have to get out of your own head and into your target’s.
As creepy as that sounds, social media is an excellent tool to understanding your consumer. Chances are you have a variety of Facebook friends; pick out a handful that fit into your target audience. Not only is it helpful to study their About section, but to watch for patterns in their postings and pages they like.
I am sure most marketers in today’s digital world are well aware of the many useful marketing newsletters that are available. I am also sure there is already a high frequency of emails pouring in each day. However, if there is an opportunity to opt-in to regular newsletters from a marketing site, do it. Even if the newsletter is irrelevant for the time being. Create a folder for all of your marketing newsletters and save them, and check your collection weekly. You never know when you will find high value in one of these.
I cannot emphasize research enough. The key to a powerful marketing campaign is through a complete understanding of your target audience; you can never know your targeted group well enough. I find generational data helpful in writing any strategy and there are countless resources to find that kind of information. There are also many great opt-in resources for research newsletters as well. Although like marketing newsletters, they are not always relevant at the time, so keep your files organized!
Surveys and applications like Thumb It are also great tools to use during your research phase. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to pay for quick feedback, you are unable to target your questions to your desired audience, but it allows for a great big-picture perspective.
Have a conversation
The best way to understand the consumer you are trying to target is to talk to them; have a light conversation without making it obvious you are trying to pick their brain. You want to try avoiding a biased answer, so make sure your questions aren’t leading them to a desired response.
Finally, a good excuse to be out of your mind. Are there any tricks you use to get out of your marketing mindset and into the consumers’?