Tapping Consumer Research for Omnichannel Personalization

By Jeremy King - CEO & Founder of Attest

It’s never been more important to gain a 360-degree view of your customer. Omnichannel personalization is crucial to connecting with your brand’s target audience, but there’s a whole ecosystem of media and channels to negotiate. Just how can insights professionals reach consumers effectively on multiple fronts in order to maximise return on investment and make sure their marketing budget is wisely spent?

That’s the quandary facing brands in just about every industry right now. Getting to grips with customer behaviour across all channels and understanding where, when and how to target consumers is a complex business. Tastes and behaviours can change almost overnight, and the social network du jour can be quickly replaced by a new challenger, bringing yet more factors into the equation. What they need are continuous insights that not only give a view of a customer’s behavior on that day, but how this behavior changes and develops over time. The key to solving this puzzle lies in consumer research — but only if approached in the right way.

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Where are your target customers spending their time?

The insights that can be gained from high-quality, well-executed consumer research projects allow brands to build a more complete profile of their target audience. Finding out which social networks and other media they are using, for how long, when and what type of content they are consuming will reveal a great deal of insights into how they can best be targeted. Insights such as 20% of all adults in the US holding a very unfavorable view of TikTok as we can see from data published by Statista in January 2022, or that the number of Americans streaming TV content has surpassed those watching live TV by 83% to 81%, as evidenced in Attest’s own US Media Consumption Report from September 2021.

Access to granular data like this, when it can also be linked into broader demographic and geographic trends, is invaluable to brands. The more they understand about everything people do when they consume media, the more lifelike a picture they can build of their customer. In the past, brands have relied on third-party cookies to gain insight into these trends, but as I have previously mentioned, the era of the third-party cookie is coming to an end. Simply following someone around as they surf the web isn’t as revealing as actually asking direct questions.

But consumer research is traditionally seen as something that requires a significant investment both in terms of time and resource. It also requires a great deal of expertise to get maximum value from — or so it is believed — and this is why brands embarking on consumer research projects will often look to get help from a trusted agency partner rather than trying to get it done in house.

Ongoing conversations beat one-off snapshots

While partnering with a research agency might make sense for a lot of brands that want to embark on a large, set-piece project but don’t have the internal capacity to plan and execute it themselves, there are many instances where outsourcing consumer research can’t be justified. The kind of data brands need to access won’t come from projects that take months to plan, execute and analyse — it’s a continuous conversation with the target audience that is required. Only then will marketers be able to fully understand and predict the shifts in consumer behaviour across multiple different channels — insights they can use to inform and shape their future approach.

The answer, then, is to find a way to consistently tap into the target audience and get the relevant insights in a way that doesn’t overwhelm increasingly time-pressured marketing departments or require a big financial commitment. Choosing the right self-serve platform is critical to this — it has to be simple enough to produce results straight out of the box with no steep learning curve. It also needs to have the flexibility to enable marketers to get the data they need quickly, while allowing them to tweak their approach as needed. After all, nobody is going to know exactly which questions to ask consumers 100% of the time — we should be able to make a screw-up here and there and be able to correct ourselves.

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Cracking the code on omnichannel personalization

In order to crack omnichannel personalization, brands can’t rely on consumer research projects that were conceived and executed several months ago to make the right decisions today. Chances are, once the numbers have been crunched and the insights drawn from the data, the findings will be out of date.

Staying on top of customer preferences is something a business needs to be doing at all times, whether they are planning their next big campaign or just looking to quickly validate a specific tactical approach. A good marketer will often have a hunch about what the right thing to do is; however, it can be a challenge to get the right data to back up the gut feeling. But by taking control of consumer research and treating it as an ongoing conversation, brands can achieve this. The only way to master omnichannel personalization is to form a strong, consistent connection to the customer.

 

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