Guess Again

Think you know your target audience, your existing customers? Guess again because you may be completely wrong.

I just saw some research from Kantar Media that found 61% of women felt that the way they were portrayed in advertising was “completely out of touch” with who they are today.

Think about that for a second. Basically six out of 10 women are telling advertisers, “You’re not relevant to me.”

I’m a strong proponent for research, and when I read studies like this it tells me that many brands aren’t really doing their homework or haven’t refreshed it as often as they should. It’s critically important to understand the belief systems and motivators that drive behavior, whether that’s making a purchase or choosing to like something on social media. That understanding should wind up driving the personality and tone of all your communications, so if it’s off base you’re either irrelevant or not as relevant as you could be.

I have a client that was launching a new product and gave us a creative brief and target market based on what they were told from salespeople because they wanted to save money by not doing primary research. Nothing against salespeople, I mean we’re all selling something every day, but we all have filters and what we choose to tell our salesperson may be different than how we genuinely feel. Thankfully, we convinced our client to let us do a tiny bit of field research with actual product users and what we learned completely shifted the target market and the creative for the campaign – and the new product sold out in four weeks.

The Kantar study is a good reminder that we shouldn’t take our customer knowledge and insight for granted, especially if it hasn’t been updated regularly. The political and social environment that brands live in today changes rapidly and our knowledge and understanding of how those changes impact customers changes in response.