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50 shades of customers – knowing your customer.

In my last blog, I spoke about customer loyalty and the need for brands to build loyalty amongst their consumers by developing an emotional connection with them. I also touched on how brands can face the challenge of consumers not seeing ads targeted at them because they no longer frequent your ad sites of choice.

It led me to think about the assumptions we make as advertisers and marketers about our consumers and their behaviour, and ultimately, the archetypes we slot them into. We make assumptions and then categorise them – the  soccer mum who reads Women’s Weekly and looks to Curtis Stone for dinner inspiration, or the high flying worker who flies business class with Qantas because the lounge offers a newspaper and buffet breakfast.

We develop categories or segments of customers so we can generalise who they are, what’s top of mind for them, what they are susceptible to buying, what concerns them and what their personal preferences are. The theory is by identifying our target audiences, we better understand how to capture their attention and ultimately, it allows us to make decisions on how to reach and sell to them as a group. Customer segmentation is the starting point for entire campaigns – it is an important part of how and why, as marketers, we do what we do.

By really understanding consumer habits, behaviours and motivations, we can tailor the experience, channels and messaging to maximise product appeal. As marketers and advertisers, we understand a good customer segmentation strategy reduces risk in deciding where, when, how and to who a product, service or brand will be marketed.

But, what if we didn’t have to make assumptions about our customers? What if we knew real facts about their traits and behaviour and understood where to find them and how to reach them. What if we know when changes among these customer profiles take place and what that means for our brand? These are insights that could help develop and underpin the most effective campaigns.

We can heave a sigh of collective relief; these facts and profiles do exist. In fact, three completely new consumer profiles have just been identified in the Australian population – you might be surprised by them or you might even see yourself in them: they’re the retirees that don’t live life like your average retiree (Golden Nesters). The young families that choose to live on the outskirts of town but have high debt and spend most of their time online (Ambitious Spenders); and the middle aged families that are first generation Australian who live in regional or rural areas with extended family (Greener Pastures).

Sure, some of these profiles sound similar to what we’ve heard before, but taking a deeper look, your trained marketing eye will spot the subtle differences that will change the way you communicate and market to them. For example, if you are targeting an Ambitious Spender, you might like to place your emphasis on online advertising on news sites as they spend nearly 15 hours a week on the internet.

As I said, such data and insights are readily available. Experian recently launched Mosaic 2013, from which the three new profiles above come from. With such granular information about audiences readily available, the challenge for marketers is proactively and consistently integrating these insights into campaigns to ensure long-term, sustained effectiveness.

For some, this can be time and resource intensive. Many organisations are struggling to find the skills internally to analyse and then action the insights that are found, but these organisations also recognise the value that will be lost without an effective segmentation strategy. It’s a fine balance, but as data becomes more integral to day-to-day marketing operations, brands will be looking to the changing demographics with a closer eye than ever before.

If you would like to learn more about the latest release of Mosaic download the latest report.

mosaic-report

Experian Mosaic: Target and engage the new Australian consumer across channels