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The Consumer Behavior | Stéphane Augustin | MU |

Marketing leaders spend a lot of time, energy and financial resources to understand consumer behavior. In the past, marketing leaders relied heavily on traditional customer interview techniques like focus groups and customer surveys to understand consumer behavior. Over the years, they have diversified their way of collecting consumer data. With the advent of social media and the explosion of data, organisations realised that there was a disconnect between what people say they want to buy and what they actually buy.

In addition, the psychographics are nowadays more relevant than the demographics. On social media, customers tend to join groups and communities that remind us of our tribalistic nature as human beings. Seth Godin, one of the most influential thought leaders in marketing over the last three decades, have written a book about this called Tribes. Consumers are looking to connect with like-minded people and follow influencers and brands that are in line with their personal values. 

Digital platforms have become an easy way to gather data and analyze consumer behavior. As a matter of fact, digital marketing leaders who managed their social media analytics have access to a plethora of data. However, what we need is not more data but more actionable insights and this doesn’t depend on the amount of data that we collect. There is a need to have a well defined data strategy in order to collect the right information.

Furthermore, there is a need to notice both big and subtle shifts in consumer behavior when it comes to their online behavior. We must also understand that most organisations will need to have an omni-channel strategy where they monitor in-store consumer behavior as well.

Some organisations have an online store but they close deals in their physical stores because some customers are still reluctant to buy things like luxury apparel or tailor made suits online. This makes sense when we take some time to step back and put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. 

We can identify consumer behavior by: 

  • Observing consumer behavior in stores 
  • Analysing trending hashtags and keyword search online
  • Analyse recurring comments on social media pages or groups/forums
  • Collecting data through salesmen who regularly interact with customers
  • Leverage social media and online data (website, mobile app etc.)

The most efficient organisations are able to blend online and offline data and analyze it so that it can identify the right actions to increase the share of wallet. In addition, social media organisations can easily identify trends and launch new product lines in order to stay relevant. This can lead to more appealing in-store merchandising. 

The marketing leader must stay objective. Over time, marketers tend to develop theories and hypothesis on consumer behaviors. However, with time they must question their hypothesis with a more data-driven approach. Marketers must be able to identify what their target audience believes in. On social media, there is a herd mentality where the most hyped contents are shared virally. It may give the illusion that everyone is interested in a particular brand or social cause but it’s not really the case. Marketing leaders must be able to see through the hype.

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