October 4, 2018

Beyond Personas: Creating Customer Doppelgangers

 

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Dear smart marketers: it’s time to start dabbling in doppelgängers.

 

What does this mean, exactly? It means the future of substantial and effective consumer understanding relies on the intersection of behavioral analysis and Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS).

 

Although consumer research has always been a crucial component of advertising, CIS is a new, more comprehensive level of consumer research. Through CIS, brands establish an authentic and evolving portrait of a consumer and their purchasing journey informed through persistent evaluation of online and offline behavior coupled with demographics and psychographics.

 

By developing an identity strategy that layers behavioral data onto more traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, brands are able to truly identify their consumer.

 

Discovering how, when and where a consumer shops, seeing what brands are stealing closet or cart space, and understanding how customers connect on social channels — brands can even see how their customers behave when they aren’t shopping.

 

In essence, brands don’t just build personas, but create doppelgängers of their customers through Big Data.

 

It’s the creation of these doppelgängers that enable brands to attain a comprehensive understanding of how their consumers act, live and behave. With this knowledge, brands can make viable predictions of how particular consumers will shop and act based on similar consumers. This doppelgänger approach can even be applied to the smallest business all the way up through the big leagues. Even in big league baseball.

 

At age 32, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit a career-threatening slump. But Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com used doppelgängers to refute the conventional wisdom that Ortiz was washed up.

 

>> Interested in taking a swing at the details of Big Papi’s doppelgängers? Download our white paper now to learn more.

 

Ortiz ultimately shook his slump and improved his game, just as Silver’s doppelgänger data suggested. With the right amount of the right data, brands can build more effective and accurate personas. They can design strategies to reach and serve their customers not only with the right messaging, but also the right timing and cadence.

 

Using behavioral data to create a consumer identity strategy is no longer for the Amazons, Walmarts and Googles of the world. It’s for every brand that has a physical, digital and mobile presence in their industry. Brands that don’t focus their marketing dollars on consumer identity strategies immediately will find themselves playing catch-up in the years to come.

 

Now is your chance to step up to the plate and make bold business moves. Get a deeper look into the power of behavioral analysis and AMP Agency here by downloading the white paper, or visit AMP’s website: www.ampagency.com.

October 1, 2018

Big Data's Impact on Consumer Research and Strategy

Customer Identity Strategy Blog Post

When it comes to the dynamic nature of marketing and advertising climates, stagnancy is rarely recommended.

 

That’s why it may seem unfathomable that consumer research tactics have seldom adapted since the folks at Arm & Hammer discovered that their customers were putting baking soda in their refrigerators to keep them fresh.

 

But now, marketers are no longer confined to surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Consumer research is finally following the lead of Arm & Hammer’s customers and freshening things up big-time.

 

Data scientists and smart data-led marketers today are creating methods that improve and expand upon the insights coming from traditional qualitative and quantitative research. As a result, consumer research as a whole is embracing a new wave of audience understanding thanks to the help of Big Data.

 

That’s right — Big Data just so happens to be the next big thing for consumer research.

 

By layering in Big Data, brands can develop a comprehensive Consumer Identity Strategy (CIS): an authentic and evolving portrait of a consumer and their purchasing journey informed through persistent evaluation of online and offline behavior coupled with demographics and psychographics.

 

The idea of observing people’s actions, habits and behaviors may not seem all that groundbreaking. But being able to observe consumers at scale and use data models based on behavior is, in fact, disruptive for marketers and is rapidly becoming the core of every identity strategy.

 

By augmenting self-reported surveys, behavioral data analysis builds a picture of a consumer based on their actual behaviors. These behaviors can range from what they purchase online and offline to behaviors as specific as what time of day they like to shop or how often they actually go to the gym.

 

To see how Big Data and CIS play out in real-life scenarios, just look at Netflix — a company who learned early on in its life cycle that actions speak much louder than words.

 

 

>> Read more about how this streaming giant succeeded in using Big Data-driven consumer identity strategy by downloading our complete white paper here.

 

 

Netflix grew their business by using behavioral data that showed true consumer behavior. On top of that, this data helps reveal counterintuitive results that may go against what society or individuals believe to be true.

 

When this behavioral data is layered onto more traditional methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, brands are then able to truly identify their consumer in ways traditional research methods had not made possible before Big Data came into play.

 

Now’s the time to be bold and lead with the best tools available.Get a deeper look into the power of behavioral analysis and AMP Agency here by downloading the white paper, or visit AMP’s website: www.ampagency.com.

August 9, 2018

Unexpected Takeaways From the Ad Club's CMO Breakfast with JCPenney

“Stylish women love JCPenney. Some of them just don’t know it yet.”

 

Like I had, you might be thinking, “Really now? Coming from a brand with a decades-old value first reputation?” Yes, really. Bear with me on this because I wasn’t buying it at first either, but there’s something fascinating here.

 

My expectations weren’t exactly clear walking into the AdClub CMO breakfast featuring Marci Grebstein, JCPenney’s recently appointed Chief Marketing Officer. In fact, I hadn’t heard much about JCPenney in recent advertising news at all. So, as I settled into my seat in the Google auditorium, I carried my perception of JCPenney as being an outdated brand with me. What followed in the next 60 minutes of Marci’s presentation radically shifted that perception, and propelled me into a state of furious notetaking.

Expectations: 0. Marci: 1.

As Marci spoke, my previous perceptions were countered by a surprising portrait of a progressive brand that has altered its messaging to meet the the modern American mom where she actually is, not where the rest of the world expects her to be.

 

How did JCPenney break from an old brand perception and arrive at their new strategic positioning? With Marci’s lead, the company invested in what many brands have yet to: critical brand perception research and journey mapping. They put in the work to better understand the modern American mom, their bullseye audience. The result? A clear picture of her values that transcend just standard demographics alone—

 

  • Convenience: She’s a working mom who doesn’t have a ton of time.
  • Family: She puts extra emphasis on family - her real family, work family, friend family. She loves spending time with them, especially when shopping.
  • Price: She’s on a tight budget, so finding style for less is important.

These newly pinpointed values exposed a critical insight that ultimately drove JCPenney’s brand repositioning: The modern American mom wants to find value without sacrificing style.

 

When you think of value forward, you might think Walmart or Kohl’s. When you think of style forward, you might think Nordstrom or Macy’s. To meet this mom where she is, JCPenney repositioned itself to exist at the intersection of both. This opportunistic white space was the driving force for a major shift in marketing communications—breaking from the old “Get your Penney’s worth” tagline, and transitioning to “Style and Value for All”, a nod to their diverse and value-driven audience.

 

JCPenney has since rolled out everything from new brand anthem spots touting their new messaging to fresh fashion, beauty, and influencer partnerships—all of which reflect a diverse range of people and lifestyles, centering on shared American values and family.

 

 

 

I applaud JCPenney’s efforts to get smart about their customer. It can be scary for brands, especially ones with long legacies, to step away from the standard. But JCPenney took these consumer insights as an opportunity to break free from the mold and instead represent who their customers really are—people of all different sizes, cultures, family types, and mindsets.

But wait, there’s more.

Extending beyond a commitment to reflecting their diverse consumer in their advertising, Marci confirmed the brand also puts strong emphasis on diversity in hiring. When I asked if JCPenney works to ensure that the multicultural woman they’re targeting is reflected in their work force and marketing decision makers, Marci met my question with enthusiastic appreciation.

 

She shared that she thinks diverse perspectives inevitably lead to stronger communication strategies—and that giving traditionally underrepresented populations in business a seat at the table is important to her. In support of this, she proudly shared that 60% of JCPenney’s decision makers are women, and growing numbers are racial minorities.

 

I’m of the belief that a sea of sameness yields more of the same. Strategies are elevated by the healthy tensions that diverse perspectives bring. And we need more of that.

 

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The sometimes difficult, but always invaluable self-reflection that JCPenney embarked on with their brand perception and consumer research is something all of us as marketers can learn from while navigating the ever changing consumer landscape.

 

Want to check out Marci’s full presentation and decide for yourself? Watch the full presentation here: http://theadclub.org/cmo/jcpenney/

 


 

This blog post was written by:

Alyssa McBryar, Marketing Manager

Liz Lauzon, Assoc. Business Development Manager

 

June 21, 2013

4 Fun Ways to Learn about Consumers

Without consumers, brands fail.  Nothing is more valuable to a brand than someone who financially supports them then spreads the word for free. To develop effective messaging, it is imperative to understand who the brand's customers are, and what they want. Here are 4 fun methods that anyone can use to learn about and better understand consumers:

  1. Find them on social media.  This is the quickest and easiest way to learn about your consumer.  What are they posting pictures of?  Who are they talking to? What are they talking about?  Take note of the language and tone they use, and how they describe and represent themselves.
  2. Read a magazine.  No really.  Go to the store, and pick up a magazine that the brand's target demographic reads.  Before you open the cover, take a second to clear your mind.  Pretend that you're an 18-year-old college freshman, or a golf enthusiast, or whomever your consumer is.  Then, read what they read.  Check out the pictures. Flip through the articles. Look over the ads.  This will help you better understand what they care about and how different brands capture their attention.
  3. Watch TV or a movie.  Though choosing an entertaining TV show or film is good choice, a documentary about the consumer is an even better one.  If you go the entertainment route, as with the magazine exercise, you'll want to clear your head and pretend you're the consumer before you begin.
  4. Attend an event.  Whether it's a Taylor Swift concert or hanging around their favorite store, going to an event or environment that your consumer enjoys is one of the best ways to submerge yourself in their world.  When you're there, immerse yourself in their experience. Eat what they eat and drink what they drink. Strike up a conversation with the consumer and learn more about them.  Take note of the event sponsors and their involvement.

Any of these four activities will give you a glimpse into your consumer's world, and help you think of them as more than just consumers but as people.   While these activities may not tell you more about purchase cycle, it will tell you about what entertains and excites them.  Understanding these passion points will enable your brand to open up a deeper relationship with these individuals.

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