As part of the Consumer Insights team, I field a lot of very specific and sometimes obscure questions. Ranging from 'how many 18 year old college students that live on campus are interested in renting furniture?'? to 'how many moms between the ages of 28 to 35 read newspapers?'? to 'what are the hotspots for tween boys?'? Surprisingly, I usually have, or can dig up, the answers to most of these questions. Not surprisingly, those answers don't always get our clients what they are looking for. So I always strive to provide more.
Most clients start off thinking that they need facts about a given consumer segment: demographic information: age, household income, education level, etc and quantifiable behaviors: favorite websites, discretionary spending, number of times they go out to eat, etc. While this type of information is very important, it does not provide the complete picture of who that consumer is and what will motivate them to buy products or services. Think about it, I am 5'7'?, a college graduate and I eat out about once a week. What does that tell you about me? It gives you some idea as to where to put messages, but there is little to go on to establish a relationship.
As you know at AMP, our mission is to create brand experiences that become part of consumers' live experiences. We believe that in order to do that we really need to get to know consumers. To truly connect with consumers, as a brand, you need to understand what they think, feel, and believe. To get to that level of understanding the AMP Consumer Insights team leverages some creative and non-traditional research methodologies.
For example, we recently did some work for a footwear company that was looking to launch a new line of shoes. We intercepted consumers on their turf (in this case skate parks) and held discussion groups in their homes. We even bought shoes off their feet. These methodologies combined to give us a view of how these consumers play, how they live and how they really use a product (sneakers in this case). It provided the color that was lacking from the black and white facts. Our client not only went on to use this information to develop a new product line but also used it to determine how to connect with those consumers, and ultimately how to launch that line.
Consumer demographics and quantifiable behaviors are very important but they only tell half the story. We strive to tell the full story by integrating ourselves into consumers' lives. If you are having trouble with figuring out your consumer's story, let me know. We would love to tell you how we would go about learning more and adding color via a creative and effective research plan. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org