Drivers of marketing success have changed dramatically over the last few years, with digital engagement and consumer power playing an increasingly important role. The marketing world of yesteryear was defined by one-way communication to drive brand-building and to get the message across. However, these traditional principles no longer apply and brands who refuse to adapt to today’s digitally engaged environment risk being left behind.
Not only has the marketing environment and the context within which success is created changed over time, markets also have become increasingly fragmented in terms of choice. Never before have consumers faced quite as much choice as they do today – on shop shelves and in the virtual world; this trend of market fragmentation is likely to grow. So, what does it take to gain success in a market where choice is almost unending, and the benefit of being a big brand is diminished by a rich tail of niche offerings? There is no doubt that marketers have their jobs cut out for them.
Winning requires precise marketing action
The success of brands like Nike and Coke is built on a rich history and heritage which runs decades into our past. These brands have managed to weave themselves into the very essence of who we are by being part of our lives for years on end – even pre-dating the digital era. However in today’s fast-paced environment, marketers no longer have the luxury of time to build success. Consumers are frugal and demanding of instant gratification – and will voice their opinion when brands refuse to meet their needs.
Today’s marketing environment is one where success is driven by integrated marketing at a pace that is unheard of before. Marketers need to be more sensitive to the spontaneous voice of the customer than ever before, crafting their messages not around the isolation of the boardroom table, but in collaboration with consumers who want to be heard and would like to see their individual requirements being met.
Integrating marketing efforts around moments that matter is a crucial element of success. Ultimately marketers need to understand the context within which their brands will be used in a lot more detail than before – we call these ‘moments that matter’. Fitting into these moments that matter requires a sense of authenticity and humble relevance on the brand’s behalf, to build up a perception that it is the brand that fits into the consumer’s life, and not the other way around. This is what will drive and define consumer centricity in the world of tomorrow.
Marketing for moments that matter
Understanding consumers in aggregate is no longer enough – the sheer amount of choice now means that consumers use different brands for different needs, in different contexts, and in very specific moments. Truly successful marketing in this complicated landscape requires a nuanced understanding of the moments where brands already play a strong, organic role in consumer’s lives.
Such new-age marketing is only possible through a granular understanding of consumers’ behavior as they go about their daily lives. It is about moving from an aggregated viewpoint to understanding what is important to the individual. If done well, this process will enlighten brands and allow them to tailor marketing efforts with newfound precision.
Touchpoints today are autonomous, assertive and under the control of your audience. A brand’s planning agenda now revolves around understanding the role that people want each touchpoint to play. Discover more about the touchpoint revolution by clicking here.
Technology opens up a granular understanding While the fast-changing digital landscape has undoubtedly empowered the consumer in ways not hitherto seen, the same technology that enabled this change has also provided brands with the tools to understand the needs of their customers like never before.
The ubiquity of mobile devices has transformed research from monolithic paper surveys to smarter, more streamlined constructs that can reach consumers on the medium they are most comfortable with, in (or close to) those moments that matter. However, it can be just as important to listen to the spontaneous voice of the customer, rather than asking specific questions. Social media has given rise to the largest ever spontaneous consumer feedback network – and if tapped into correctly can provide granular (and often unimagined) insight into organic brand perceptions, to overlay with in-the-moment mobile questioning.
By leveraging the combination of asking (via mobile) and listening (social media) to the spontaneous voice of the customer, brands can cultivate a fully nuanced understanding of moments that matter.
A beverages case study
The value of these critical brand moments can be shown through a beverages case study undertaken by TNS during an international rugby tournament. Through a combination of mobile diaries and social listening, alcohol consumption was tracked over the tournament.
Interestingly, overall beer consumption went up by 3% during the event, but rose significantly higher (by 11%!) on days when the Springboks played. Much of this increased consumption was driven by Brand A, but Brand E, sponsor of the event, also saw sizeable growth when the Springboks played (an estimated 120%), despite having a relatively low share of the market. The data also showed an increased tendency for people to spend time with family at home when watching games, with far fewer people drinking by themselves.
Insights like these enable marketers to hone in on not only what customers want but when they want it, how they want to experience it, and who they want to experience it with, all of which will enable messaging that that they actually want to hear. Never before has consumption been tracked on specific days, in specific contexts, in a way that doesn’t rely on people’s fallible memories.
Brand E spent several million to secure their sponsorship of the event. Social media and in-the-moment consumption behaviour indicate that for the South African market this was money well spent.
What does mean for marketers in South Africa
Brands that want to be successful today and in the future are going to have to be cognisant of their consumers most important moments, and seamlessly convey the relevance of their brand in that detailed, individual context.
This is easy to say, but will require a full embrace of technology-driven data collection methods to get at the heart of the in-the-moment, spontaneous consumer voice. In so doing, brands will have the necessary tools to create precise marketing messages that actually land with meaningful impact.
About the authors:
Alida Jansen, Head of Innovation, TNS South Africa
Alida heads up the Innovation Department for TNS South Africa, driving Technology Enabled Research techniques (TER) for the business. She is a brand equity specialist, and has over 12 years’ experience in market research. Alida spent almost three years in London working at TNS headquarters as a consultant on Brand and Communications research.
Chris Davies, Innovation Partner, TNS South Africa
Innovation Partner at TNS South Africa, Chris is part of TNS’ Global Technology Enabled Research team and has over six years’ experience in both qualitative and quantitative research. Chris is focused on understanding the research implications of new data streams and technologies, such as leveraging social media data, eye-tracking, neuromarketing and text analytics to inform a more holistic understanding of brands.
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