Do you really know who your consumer targets are?

By Dave Tan, Vice President, Content Solutions

For those of you who know me, this post may seem to be a continuation of my constant rant on consumer behavior. What brings this on? Well, I had the great fortune of being asked to participate on a panel regarding Content Optimization for American Business Media’s (ABM) first mid-west regional chapter meeting in early April here in Chicago. ABM is a premier association that brings together B2B publishers.

As I listened and discussed concepts with my fellow guest panelists, we all quickly went tactical on content optimization, but also started to discuss consumers at a very high level. As the panel commenced, I found myself bringing the audience back to the core concepts of marketing. I kept asking them about their consumers and how much they knew about them. As the audience asked about blogs, micro-sites, social communities, and other facets of digital content, I had to continually ask them about their core audience and if they knew whether their consumers interacted in those platforms, and if they wanted to interact with their brands in that way.

Certainly there are many ways to interact with consumers through digital formats, but just because there are thousands of facebook or mobile applications does not mean every company, publication, or business has to have one as well. If you know that your consumer target is frequently there, by all means, explore a facebook page or application. But if you don’t have a good feel for if your target audience is there on facebook, don’t jump into it and get lost amid the sea of other applications. As well, before you think about printing web blog posts in your print magazine, find out if your audience wants to see that sort of breezy commentary in print alongside straight editorial. Know your consumer.

We often spend time trying to strategize on how we can get our client’s brands to fulfill consumer’s needs and wants, but don’t spend enough time looking at the consumer. I certainly have been guilty of that when I was on the client side of the business. We all find ourselves thinking that everyone is the target audience, and everyone is like us.

Well that may be the case, but to be sure, we all need to rely much more on another marketing principle, market research. Conduct consumer research. Use free online surveys to get more insights from your target users. Use Google insights for Search for a flavor, use your web analytics for more flavors, and conduct first hand consumer research if possible for the most flavors and taste. If budgets allow, look into digital analysis of consumer behaviors. That way, your products and services will always be better targeted. As G.I. Joe says, “knowing is half the battle”.


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