August 9, 2022
The noise of the modern world requires brands to find consumers with a shared wavelength. At MakerSights, for example, we focus on providing the best possible Voice of Consumer platform for apparel, footwear, lifestyle, and home goods brands. Could we expand our vision to include other retail categories? Sure, and perhaps one day we will. But, for now, that narrowed focus is what keeps us responsive to our brand partners’ needs.
In the same way, the most successful brands know exactly who their target consumers are and focus on creating products that those groups will love. This consumer-obsessed thinking revolves around detailed and precise profiles that employ demographic, psychographic, and firmographic data to match the right brands and products with the right people.
While most brands have a few basic profiles that sort primary consumers into large umbrella categories, MakerSights helps our brand partners unlock the power of consumer obsession by creating precise profiles to better select survey respondents that align with their products. Then, our purpose-built for retail dashboards and analytics make it easy for product creators, merchandisers, and consumer insights teams to analyze the data and find the answers they need to understand consumer preferences, trends, and more. The result? Targeted and efficient assortments with higher margins, fewer markdowns, and far less deadstock, if any.
If you don’t know where to start on creating laser-precise target profiles, we’ve got you covered! Here are three steps to get you closer to your consumers than ever before.
Traditional consumer feedback methods like focus groups are met with justifiable caution by product and merchandising teams about whether the consumers they hear from actually represent their target. After all, a focus group’s limited size cannot possibly represent the preferences of your target audience as a whole, not to mention in-room variables like choice fatigue and “bias of the loud” where a few big voices dominate the discussion.
Furthermore, product creation teams lack alignment around who their target consumer even is, while insights teams often lack access to the very data that helps them hone in on those audiences, breeding mutual mistrust.
MakerSights’ Consumer Profiles allows brands to unify around tightly defined target personas with segmentation questions that map to each persona’s key demographic and psychographic makeup. This is the cornerstone to any modern merchandising strategy, giving stakeholders confidence that feedback reflects the opinions of their intended target persona and not just a random pool of respondents.
Demographic (Who Buys): Gender, Age, Ethnicity, Education, Zip Code, Income, and Marital Status
Psychographic (Why They Buy): Activities, Interests, and Preferences (favorite brands, sports, travel, pets, etc.)
Behavioral (How They Buy): Online Store, Social App, In-Store, etc.
Define the range of questions for respondents where the answers that align closest to the ideal profile are weighted higher. At this stage you would define those weights, as well as the threshold each respondent must exceed to be included in the profile group.
If, for example, you’re trying to identify “Sneaker Fanatics” you might include questions about how frequently they wear sneakers, how frequently they've bought exclusive drops, or how often they visit forums related to sneakers. Respondents that select an answer like “I don’t really wear sneakers” would be an obvious choice for removal from the profile, whereas the answer “I wear sneakers everyday” would bring them closer to the profile threshold.
Not every product or consumer insights team has access to their CRM to solicit feedback directly from current customers. Some don’t have a CRM at all. Since they need to source respondents from outside of their customer pool, how can they be sure that everyone surveyed falls within their consumer profiles?
Thankfully, MakerSights can also tune your audience channels to guarantee that only the respondents that represent your target profile with a high degree of specificity are “worthy” to provide sentiment feedback. These qualifying questions can be as general as “Have you worn sneakers in the past year?” or as specific as “How much have you spent on running sneakers from Our Brand in the last year?” but like our friend Goldilocks, a balance of both is the best approach to selecting best-fit respondents. Cast the net too wide and your pool may contain respondents that don’t accurately represent target consumers’ preferences. Too narrow and it may take more time to field the appropriate amount of respondents, reducing your speed to insight.
To ensure that respondents represent the intended audience for your sneaker sentiment test, you use audience channels to qualify respondents with the questions listed above. Since we’re looking for a profile of consumers who like your brand’s sneakers, those who responded that they have purchased from you in the last year will be one step closer to being included in your audience. This is only one possible question of many to ensure that all of their shopping habits fall within the desired profile. Be sure not to ask so many questions here that you don’t have an audience left though!
Historically the trade off for creating more confidence and alignment around consumer feedback meant spending even more time and money. In-person projects like focus groups and market visits both require significant investment and coordination to successfully execute, and today’s economic and travel conditions are only making that more complex. For a fiscally responsible brand, that might mean more time between feedback-capture sessions, which ultimately detracts from Consumer Insight teams’ ability to do their job.
Consumer Profiles allows brands to engage with their audiences at scale, while capturing actionable insights in days, not weeks. Getting the best of both worlds doesn't require unsustainable cost– by our calculations, you can run twelve tests to thousands of respondents through MakerSights on the budget of just one 24-member focus group– and can be repeated at a cadence suitable to the retail calendar, resulting in faster, data-informed assortment decisions.
Now that you’ve defined who you want to target and qualified survey respondents to fit your desired profile, it’s time to solicit, collect, and review your respondent’s feedback.
Imagine once again that you are collecting feedback for a new sneaker line using the “Sneaker Fanatics” audience you designed in Step 1 (Consumer Profiles) and qualified in Step 2 (Audience Channels). You’d like to further segment the responses to understand preference differences between age groups as well as in-store or online shopping habits to see how it may affect the assortment. Add one or both to the filter view at a time, and watch as the sentiment data shifts dynamically to account for these added layers!
Consumer Profiles allows product, merchandising, and consumer insights teams to unite by mapping and standardizing their consumer strategy within the MakerSights Workspace. With clear definitions around target personas’ traits and habits, brands can scale the access and application of consumer sentiment across the entire product creation process with confidence, consistency, and clarity.
Interested in refining your own targeting strategy? Drop us a line and we’ll show you how our consumer-obsessed customers are successfully streamlining product creation.
One team’s success doesn’t have to come at the other’s expense. In fact, it’s proven that brands perform better when these two groups work together.
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