Marketers agree that understanding customer need is key to any business. Forming that understanding however can involve scrambling in the dark for insights on audiences. As companies build increasingly unwieldy datasets, the access to behaviour that the internet has allowed us can sometimes mean that overload of information is just as bad as not having enough.
The good news is that there are some easy ways to tap into how your customers feel – with the context of who is buying from you and listening to their feedback.
Sense and sensitivity
It’s important to be sensitive to the attitude of the consumer when they purchase goods and services – and understanding what their emotional context is likely to be. In 2016, Trusted Reviews carried out research with market research agency Hope and Anchor, and found that different purchase types require a different kind of response.
In the case of a distress purchase, which is usually a search triggered by need, the challenge for brands is to be the reliable anchor that people will turn to or default to instantly when they want to buy their replacement item. This applies to, for instance, white goods and smaller appliances such as kettles that many consumers will buy largely when their current model has broken down. In fact, we found that 70% of large tech goods purchases were driven by the need to replace a broken model. The solution to this is through brand building, establishing yourself in people’s minds through familiarity and relevance.
But then there are more emotional need cases – such as with the smart tech, AV, and mobile comms categories. Purchases made in this area tend to be more driven by the desire to upgrade to something more attractive, or just own something new. In the UK, for instance, we found 73% of AV purchases were made with the desire to ‘get something new or upgrade’. The clear obstacle here is time, with tech moving so rapidly that consumers question whether they should wait for the next model. Rather than building familiarity as with a distress purchase, the key here is to inspire consumers through storytelling and build up an emotional desire to purchase now.
At Trusted Reviews, we tailor editorial depending on the user journey. For example, articles about buying a washing machine are a lot more utilitarian than ones about buying a new TV, where new technologies, and the benefits these bring to the experience, need to be explained to consumers.
It’s not just the emotional context that brands can rely on to understand the consumer purchase journey. The search for any item tends to start on the web, as 92% of consumers check companies out online, while 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is a crucial too but needs to be built on a foundation of trust. For example, Reevoo, the user-generated content (UGC) platform, verifies any consumer before they can review a product to ensure that they are a real customer, establishing mutual transparency between both the brand and the users relying on reviews to inform them about the quality of a product or service.
Encouraging reviews and UGC can achieve two goals for companies looking to tap into how their customers are feeling. It can reassure other customers of the legitimacy of the company’s service, and provide the business with valuable market research about what parts of their product and customer experience work, and what needs improving. When we apply this to the customer purchase journey, if customers need reliability in a distress purchase, they can quickly be assured that the product is right for them. In the case of inspiration for a more emotional purchase, they’ll have plenty of feedback to trawl through to ensure that the highly personal purchase they’re about to make is a fit.
Marketing is an art as well as a science. Looking at the emotional context as well as listening to customer feedback can help not just marketers, but a business overall to understand its customers and tap into what they need to drive sales and build relationships.