Are the rules of marketing changing as we know it?

In an article written earlier this year for Business 2 Community, Bryan Kramer, President and CEO of PureMatter a full service marketing agency in Silicon Valley, wrote “There Is No More B2B Or B2C: It’s Human To Human, H2H.”

These words have never been truer than they are today. But in order to connect with your customers and offer some “human to human interaction” – even if in the virtual sense – you must first know more about them; you have to know what makes them tick.

  1. Age – But not for the reason you’re thinking…

This may sound elementary for you seasoned marketers. After all, when conducting consumer research, knowing your target’s age is right up there with knowing gender and income level. But new research indicates that knowing age is about a lot more than you think.

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that consumers have existing advertising biases based on advertisements they saw as children. Turns out, children learn how to absorb advertising over time, and these perceptions stand to shape motivation and response to cues for life. Likewise, negative perceptions that were created in adolescence can create barriers that the marketers of today need to breakthrough.  For example, this is perhaps why sales of margin remain high among a certain demographic, despite the fact that it has been proven to be unsafe and unhealthy – the children who lived through the “butter is evil” phase are still hesitant to believe it is anything but.

  1. How They Feel About Your Competition

Have competitors in the market? Of course you do. And these competitors can help you grow your business by connecting with and learning from their customers.  By discovering what your customers appreciate about a competitor’s product, you can angle your marketing in a manner that implies your product will exceed the expectations set by the competition. Similarly, discovering what customers would change about a competitive product on the market provides an opportunity to stand out.

  1. Do They Value Quality Over Price Point?

This certainly can’t be generalized. Whether or not your customer values quality over price greatly depends on what your product is and how useful it will be in your customer’s life.

A recent study out of the Georgetown McDonough Business School found that consumers tend to be unrealistically optimistic about how much they will use a product, but this optimism often drive them to ante up, motivating them to make purchases based on a perceived value in their lives.

Another study found that consumers’ price-quality perceptions are very much dependent on the type of product in question, or based on “product-type-specific schemas, rather than independent evaluations of price-quality relationships for individual product categories.”

And, of course, convenience can’t be underestimated these days – and it turns out that “easy to use” offers more weighted value than you might think. Research has found that when there is a perceived functionality and convenience to a product, consumers will opt for an easy-to-use option, even if it’s more expensive.   

  1. Where Do They Make Most of Their Purchases?

This tidbit of info can provide a window into the mind of a person, and whether your product is available online, in-store or neither is irrelevant. If you know customers are likely to make the majority of purchases online, this may indicate they prefer fast, easy solutions. Individuals who make more purchases in-store, however, may prefer to have a better idea of a product’s qualities and characteristics first; that they’re a little more cautious and involved when making purchasing decisions and need as much detail as possible.

  1. What is Your Customer’s Role and Social Status in the World?

This goes beyond knowing your customers’ professions, because it also plays on how an individual feels about him or her self as compared to peers. Is she a busy working mom; a dad trying to balance the office and the home?; a manager?; an employee?; a teenager? These perceived roles often influence purchasing decisions because consumers will choose products that support the roles they are assuming. How could this influence your marketing? Consumers often choose products that they feel will elevate their status among the group members, which provides an excellent springboard for marketers. Convince a person that your product will gain appreciation from peers or elevate social status, and you just earned a customer for life.

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