Anyone can be a market researcher with a little bit of training and understanding. One of the best practices a good researcher follows is avoiding any research blunders! To make it easy for you, we have listed down 8 of the most common mistakes made by companies during market research & how to avoid them. Read it through because this is your sign to avoid them all!
Is it possible to launch a new product/service without knowing who your customers are and what they need? We say, absolutely not! Market Research is one of the most important things you can do to know whether a new product or service will be accepted in the market by your customers. One of the main reasons for new product failures is not doing any market research on target markets and what they need. So, before you plan on launching your revolutionary product, do your research!
Here are a few steps for creating successful market research.
“What are my customer’s needs?”, “What amount will they pay for my product?” or “How do I measure this research?” One of the most common mistakes researchers make is not knowing exactly what information their research should give them. Whether the objective is to know the price point or acceptance of the product, the researcher should be clear about his main goal to get the desired results.
Even though your product can be unique, there are similar products that not only exist in the market but are also extremely successful. Not looking into your competitor’s products, why they stand out, and what their pricing is, is a classic mistake. To gain an edge over your competitors, you need to know anything and everything about the way they conduct their business and work on your market research accordingly.
If your questions are not clear or do not convey what you are trying to ask the consumer, your results will end up being completely different from what you may have intended. Simple words that you think look okay can have different meanings and can be interpreted differently by different people. You would be surprised how much a professional researcher could make a difference to your market research and business. So feel free to hire help!
Conducting a survey is something all marketers do but just a survey is not enough! Depending on the objective of your research, there are various market research tools you can leverage. Using the right tool for your research is imperative so you know exactly who your customers are and what they need from you.
Read more about the Market Research Tools You Can Leverage for creating a high quality report.
We have all been guilty of projecting our research on family and friends thinking it would be easier and faster to get desired results. What we miss here are unbiased opinions and honest answers. Cutting on incentives for people who are genuinely interested in your product/service and are willing to give their time to your research is a huge mistake. This broader sample will help you get unbiased opinions and honest feedback that will help your research and business in the long run.
The internet is a big pool of information and the best place to start your research. However, there are high chances that some information may be biased or wrong. So it is always recommended to research your research material and make sure it's right and solid.
Data speaks louder than assumptions when it comes to market research, so believe in the data you have collected. Let it speak for your product/service instead of being overly optimistic. A professional market research agency can help give you an unbiased report that will help your company in more ways than one.
How To Avoid These Mistakes
2. Like I mentioned before, the internet is a huge pool of information and the data available on it is abundant but it is necessary for you to conduct your own primary and secondary research to be up to date. In short, do not completely rely on data from the internet! This will keep your data fresh and unique.
Primary Research refers to collecting data from your target audience, real people.
Secondary Research is collecting data from published and verified research studies.
3. It is always important to have a plan before you start any market research. Businesses are always in such a hurry to get answers when conducting market research that they often end up making mistakes that can be avoided. Planning and preparing in advance will help you avoid mistakes before they can even occur.
4. Ask for help when you need it. Market Research is an important part of your brand strategy and any mistakes or roadblocks can create a major impact on the product life overall. Hire a professional agency that can help you with your market research and understand the results so you can go ahead with the right insights.
5. Understand your bias about the subject at hand. It is very easy to make assumptions about your product so that you get the results you are trying to achieve. Control the urge to make these assumptions and listen to what people are saying, listen to your customer’s feedback, and then act on it.
6. Lastly, identify your target market correctly. A target market is a group of people who are potential customers and the base of your market research analysis. If you get this right, then you can get the rest of your research going smoothly.
These are a few tips and tricks that will help you conduct your research with minimum pitfalls. When it comes to quality, there are no shortcuts! Releasing a new product/service is a huge step that requires a lot of effort, money, and time. One mistake and you are led to the path of failure. If you find it difficult to conduct research or have questions that are unanswered simply because you don't have an in-depth understanding, it is time you reached out to a professional agency that will give you a better understanding of your market and customers!
Reach out to our research experts to know more about how you can create the right market research strategy for your business!
“Consumer centricity comes from talking to consumers every few days and that should be a part of your organization culture” True words spoken by Manish Makhijani during our insightful webinar session with him.
Manish Makhijani is the Global PDC Director at Unilever and he is the Vice President of The Market Research Society of India(MRSI). He has spent more than twenty years in the research industry on both agency and client-side. Apart from India, he has worked with Unilever in the UK, Singapore, and Thailand across different categories and brands. Before Unilever, he worked on various brands and clients in Starcom and Kantar TNS. He is known for his expertise in the field of insights and analytics and is passionate about enhancing the insights capabilities of the organizations. He has written various papers for ESOMAR and MRSI, presented in different industry forums and webinars. He has helped many budding researchers in their journey as he has also been a visiting faculty and guest lecturer- from MICA in Ahmedabad to the London School of Economics. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Ginny Valentine Award for Courage in Research.
Market research should inform Strategy development. How do we ensure that they remain integrated from starting from research initiation to strategy execution?
" The journey needs to happen within an organization. The insights function needs to evolve from being a research provider to a strategic consultant to an advisor.
For that, you need to build that credibility with the marketing team and advertising agency first, by offering them a genuine market research insight as to why something like say a particular ad wouldn’t work? Apart from being good thinkers, insight managers should also have leadership capabilities - they should be able to drive a change agenda and be able to stand up and say - look this product is not going to do very well in the market and this is the reason behind it. The talent you hire, the grooming you do, and how insightful you make the team, it all makes a difference to the journey of a research function"
Do you also get into the kind of mapping that figures out the pillars on which a brand is built so that, no matter what the piece of communication is, you ensure that it stands on those pillars?
"We do see what are the various category drivers like how do people choose a brand within a category? Then we look at the brand drivers – for instance, the fundamental driver of Surf Excel is to be able to clean clothes properly, then comes the fragrance, and then we also need to see how our brand is performing on those parameters. There might be other emotional hooks as well. So, even before you show your brand in the ad, people should know that this is a Surf Excel ad and then you know that this is what the advertising of your brand is all about."
Could you paint this picture for us in terms of the needs a product addresses and the psychographic profile of the people who use it?
"Talking about beauty soaps, generally speaking, in India, women in the slightly lower than middle-class category don’t have access to too many makeup products because they don’t want to spend on makeup. They tend to feel a little guilty about spending the money on themselves. A strong part of femininity is that you want to feel good about yourself, not that men don’t want to feel good, but women want to feel soft skin, they want to have a good fragrance, and they want to smell nice because that gives them a sense of wellbeing. Now, can you provide all this in a bar of soap - a soap that keeps you smelling nice for a long period and makes your skin soft, that fulfills the need state of your mind – that is what beauty soaps like Godrej no. 1, Lux, and santoor do. Santoor takes a slightly different angle - it targets slightly older women and for years, they have been showing an ad where there is a young girl and a child suddenly appears and says, mommy. The surprise element is that she does not look as old because she is the mother of a young child.
For a simple humble category like a soap, where people switch brands without even blinking, they need to think about the need state of the consumers they are targeting and do their advertising accordingly. The point is to be consistent over time so that you own that position."
In the current environment, there is a deluge of data and information available. How do you deal with this amount of data and derive intelligence and insights out of it?
"It is very easy to get lost in the data that is available today. Hence, a sharp focus of what you are looking for is extremely critical and a clear understanding of where you are going to get it from is important as well and that is why your skill as a researcher comes in. For example, if I want to know why my sales are declining and I have loads of data coming in, I will run through a hypothesis similar to a typical critical thinking method. Let's say I identify the reason that I am not available anymore as much as I used to be – Now, I need the distribution data, like details about who is selling my brand and who is not selling it, and I will focus only on that data. I think the ability to think critically is far more critical today than it used to be 10 years ago because that gives you the ability to filter out what you don’t want to see and filter out what you don’t need to see. As human beings, we have got our own biases and filters which we need to be aware of and therefore set filters accordingly."
Can you tell us something about the PDC so that we can get an idea of how it is organized to be able to draw insights from multiple sources?
"There are two streams of insights in the people data centre out of the three streams - one is the social listening part, the second is the consumer engagement centre and the third is digital marketing. We use social listening tools extensively to listen to the conversations that people have on social media, of course, which are public - what people are thinking and how their emotions are changing. For instance, initially in the pandemic, people were excited about being at home for a few weeks because they thought they will have a better work-life balance then people started getting tired of that. This was all available on social media as a conversation. You need to make sure that you’re listening to people of different profiles, people from different parts of the country, enough men and women of different economic strata, and so on so that you’re not being biased by one segment. But you complement this with the primary research as well. This is one part of what the new way of doing research is, the other part is through the call centre route which is our global vertical that I lead. There, when we speak to millions and millions of consumers across the world, 30 percent of the time they spend reaching out to us is because they have a problem and they want to complain about a product, but 70 percent of the time they are reaching out to ask a genuine question or give a suggestion. That tells you how interested they are in these products and brands and that itself is a sign of involvement. The insights that we get from those unprompted conversations are huge, so we agree we have brought products back into the market which had been delisted due to this "
Can you tell us if there was a clear progression of how people were responding to lockdown and were you able to do something in terms of insights for marketing?
" Yes, we did through Analytics and Social listening. We couldn’t do research fieldwork for a few months so we recruited some panels of people and started having a conversation with them through WhatsApp every week. We were doing video calls with those ones who were affluent. Women, for instance, who were working but who were now at home because of the lockdown went through a really big problem. They said that at least they could get out of the house for eight to ten hours earlier. Now, they are expected to do all the housework along with the expectations for work from home. Their problems multiplied and incidences of home abuse went up dramatically, So, we did activities not just in terms of launching new things like surface cleaners and toilet cleaners which are very obvious recommendations but we took initiatives for their mental and emotional trauma and helped communities too. We took those kinds of initiatives where we look after people in terms of their well-being."
How can small businesses do research? Is it more like a DIY approach?
" It is not that you don’t need skilled practitioners but at the heart of it, market research is about understanding your customers, what is it that drives them to buy, when do your people leave and go to the competition. You can do it yourself by talking to a few customers and making your organization more consumer-centric or customer-centric. For example, in Unilever, we have a full consumer centricity program where people go and meet consumers and we call it a consumer connect program and even the leadership team spends at least 10 to 15 hours every month meeting and talking to consumers directly. We talk to them asking what they are using? How are they using our products? Have you seen our new ad? Thus, if you spend every month talking to consumers, it gives you a thorough understanding of the real situation. I think that consumer centricity is all about an organization's culture."
Today several brands do purpose-driven advertising - when do you think that would work and when would you recommend it?
"There is clear evidence that purpose drives a brand and in the last 10 years, brands with purpose have grown a lot more than brands without purpose. But it works only if the brand truly means what it says. This can happen only when the purpose is truly integrated into the brand. For example - Surf Excel's purpose is to provide the right parenting guidance so that they provide the right environment for their children. That is integrated into what the brand stands for and aligns with the brand philosophy, then it doesn’t feel like you are doing something else whereas if you just once in a while do some promotion then it doesn’t work. People will forget about it quickly. "
Does one need to know data science and have the technical knowledge to understand consumer insights?
"Consumer insights are more about the innate ability to connect the dots – For instance, if I see somebody eating ketchup and I see the same person watching Netflix, I should be able to understand if there could be a connection between these two? One gets very random pieces of data, the point is how do you connect them. Of course, you should have the technical knowledge and you might need to use analytics as well but that is not enough. It is only a foundation but it is your ability to connect intuitively and understand consumers is that matters. Insight is a true integration of both science and art."
Watch the complete session of this webinar on Youtube.
Einstein once said ‘The important thing is not to stop questioning’ But does the count matter? Does every question lead us to the desired learning? The trick is not in asking questions but knowing how to ask the right questions.
Holistic market research requires us to either own that skill or learn it. This is all the more pertinent now that businesses are becoming more and more consumer-centric. We can reach a consumer-oriented solution only by knowing what our consumers want, when they want, and how they want, and we need to ask them the right questions first.
Let us first understand what market research is. A new opportunity in a business and its related domains should be analyzed first through market research as it gives us an idea of the viability and feasibility of the decisions to be taken. As precisely explained in one of our previous blogs, market research plays a vital role when we have to spot business opportunities, to understand our consumers in-depth, to understand our competitors and their approach, to grow in business, and to identify the right channels of marketing for our business.
A very powerful form of market research is primary research, which is best described as an entirely new form of data collected by asking questions to the existing and prospective consumers of our brand. There are multiple types of primary research implemented depending upon our objectives - Interviews, Focus groups, Surveys, and Observations. When it comes to collecting information from a large number of people systematically with a decision orientation, a survey is highly effective.
After a market research survey has been generated, rolled out and after our data points are in place, the next logical step is to analyze these points and derive actionable insights. This is a lengthy process through and through. In fact, the data collection process alone can take months, even years sometimes, hence, it is all the more important to start off on the right note. Mind it, Surveying could be cumbersome and non-conclusive if the number and type of questions are not appropriate.
Hence, we have put down steps involved in making a successful market research questionnaire to ask meaningful questions to our audience.
First and foremost, we define our Research Problem & Target Audience
A simple way to define our research problem and target audience is to answer the following questions first.
What is the goal of this research?
What problem are we trying to solve with this data? What sort of decision will this survey lead to? Where will it be implemented?
How will it be useful to the consumers, brands and products? What information do I want from this market research questionnaire and why?
What do I hope to understand about my target audience through this research?
What market is this survey targeting? Which segment is the perfect fit and will help in the decision making process with reliable insights?
While answering these questions, we need to keep in mind the following - the size of our audience sample, the channel, and medium of our survey, and the detailed characteristics of our audience. Several data points with only a handful of them qualifying the characteristics is a waste of resources with no conclusive results.
We can use a few online tools to also build our consumers’ persona as explained in detail in one of our previous blogs.
Divide the information to be collected into Information Areas
After defining our research problem, we put down all the information that needs to be collected and group them in logical heads which are our key information areas. This list needs to be exhaustive, because a single missing piece can lead to an unsolved puzzle in the end and the process cannot be practically repeated. We also make sure that these key areas are not overlapping or contradicting each other.
Let us take an example to understand this better.
For a market research survey conducted to design a marketing strategy for an existing FMCG product, the information areas could be Usage of product, Purchase behaviour , Profile, Perception, and Brand health.
Logically sequence your information areas
After the information areas are in place, we order them as per logic to ensure that the survey nurtures respondent friendliness. The flow of the market research questionnaire is kept such that the respondent does not get mentally fatigued in between, hence, it is also a good practice to keep the questions about the core purpose of the study right in the beginning. Some common criteria to decide this order are chronology, expected bias, and the level of critical thinking.
Some of the common structures that are followed include -
Start asking questions now!
Now, we can start forming questions within the Information areas. An effective way to create questions is to divide the information areas further into Variables and Indicators.
For example, under ‘Category behaviour’ mentioned in the previous head, the variables are ‘Purchase behaviour’ and ‘Usage behaviour’. Furthermore, the indicators under ‘Usage behaviour’ are ‘frequency’, ‘purpose’, and ‘type’.
Within these heads and subheads, the questions belong to two categories - Open-ended and close-ended. When it is important to capture spontaneous answers or when we can’t put together an exhaustive list of responses as an aided list, we use open-ended questions such as ‘what do you particularly like about Product X?’ or ‘What are the reasons for not using Product X?’
On the other hand, Close-ended questions are easier and quicker to answer for a respondent as they have options to choose from. The respondents are given an aided list, which is an exhaustive list of all possible answers. Here, we make sure that the options are mutually exclusive and are not open to interpretation.
We always go for short, simple, and clear questions. For example, rather than asking,
‘Have you used the conditioner at least twice in the last two months?’,
we should be asking ‘Have you used the conditioner two or more times in the last 1 month?’
Similarly, ambiguous questions are avoided because they don’t lead to a thoughtful answer.
Proofing, and Piloting
Now, when we have put down our questions in the market research questionnaire, it is imperative to check for errors and test it once. We examine questions against the initial information areas in terms of completeness and we run a need test (for knowing if there is any question that is not required). Finally, we run it informally to know if the flow works, to check if any contradictory answers are emerging, or if any questions are heavy on the respondents' memory, and to assure the length of the survey is correct.
Before rolling out the market research survey online or online, it is crucial to examine the survey as a whole once. Hence, we ensure to provide context to the respondents in the form of reasons. Also, we set the expectations for the participants concerning length, time taken to complete it and a progress bar within the survey is always a great option.
While these are the steps involved in creating a market research survey, one wise thing to do not just while making it but also executing it is to follow logic and common sense. Remember, a true researcher should always remove his cloak of views and biases before starting to work on a survey because it is more important to know what others think.
Voila, our survey is ready to go!
Reach out to our research experts to know more about how you can create the right market research strategy for your business!
You don’t watch a show on Netflix without doing thorough research about it, do you? Then why compromise on research when it comes to marketing your product or brand digitally. While the internet has taken over the marketing world completely, good market research is still in trend. Market research plays an extensive role in digital marketing. It provides you with significant and vital information, and in a way can make or break your digital marketing campaign. This blog will give you an insight into some top market research tools to help you grow your brand.
But before we move any further into, let us understand -
Market research or marketing research is a technique that is employed not just by market research companies but sole traders as well, to collect information and gather insights about another company/brand’s target audience. If you own a business you would want to know where your customers spend most of their time, what are their pain points and preferences, what pushes them to buy your product, what holds value for them, and so on. Market research helps you to answer all these questions, design better products, and improve user experience. Market research analysts play a key role in market research companies as they are designated individuals who are experts in creating market research reports and essentially carrying out the market research process from start to finish.
Most of us shut our minds on hearing the word research and “geek-shame” it. I just came up with that term, but I am sure you know what I mean. All of us have million-dollar business ideas that we want to bring to life and market research never finds space in that to-do list. But let me tell you obsessing over your customers and getting them to know them up and close, is the only way to win.
Now if you are one of those who isn’t big on research but still wants to leave a mark which is not limited to your carbon footprint, you have landed on the right page. There are so many market research tools out there that will make your lives easier and help you maximize market research efforts. Lucky for you, I have done thorough research on them.
SiteProfiler, from Mangools.com, as the name suggests is one of a few market research tools that analyze websites, and compiles all your competitors' website statistics and SEO metrics in one place. All you need to do is enter a website URL and SiteProfiler will provide you with all the statistics about that website.
It shows all aggregated data - domain authority, page authority, citation and trust flow, rank, and so on. It also provides you with all the backlinks with top referring domains directed to a site.
Along with this, the market research report by SiteProfiler will also show you the top content the site has generated and where their major traffic comes from.
The main advantage of this market research tool is that it also breaks your audience by age, location, gender, interests, and so on. When it comes to competitors, SiteProfiler shows you the competitive landscape of the website along with relevant keywords.
One of the simplest and easiest market research tools that visualize data in the form of charts and statistics, making it extremely easy to decode it. SiteProfiler also has a google chrome extension and hence you can find insightful information about any website as and when you browse.
Other tools to measure statistics - Tableau, Statista
Originally an online search tool, Google trends is also known to be a great market research tool as it allows you to see how often specific keywords and phrases have been searched for over a period of time. It analyses Google searches and provides you with information as to how many searches were made for the particular terms and keywords along with geographical information about the users. It can also be used for comparative keyword studies and to discover spikes caused in keyword search volume due to certain events.
The best part is that Google updates the data on Google trends daily, but I would suggest that you take this information with a pinch of salt owing to the data sampling issues and approximations that might be employed to compute results. One more advantage that makes Google trends one of the more effective market research tools online is that it provides you with real-time data inclusive of the latest trends from across the globe. Many market research companies find the user-interface also extremely easy to use and navigate.
How to use it? Enter a search term in the search box at the top and see how the search volume has varied for that keyword over different locations and periods of time. You can produce more fine-grained data by changing the location, time frame, category, and type of search.
The data found in Google Trends can be used for several different marketing purposes :
Other tools for content research - Flipboard, Slideshare, Google alerts
Answer a series of questions about your ideal customers and this market research tool will generate buyer personas for you. Make My Persona is a free online market research tool by Hubspot that aids your buyer persona research and helps you organize and understand better. After answering a few strategic questions you will be presented with a personalized shareable persona sheet providing you with significant details about your target audience. Research and market to your ideal customers on a platform they spend most of their time on! You cannot get any more specific than this.
How to go about this -
Other tools to get social insights - Facebook and LinkedIn analytics, Social mention
This blog lists a few of the top market research tools available and I urge you all to take out some time and try your hands at each of these tools before you start your online market research as it will help you to identify your target audience efficiently, know what digital areas and platforms you should be active on, study the market, and identify the key influencers. It teaches you to keep a watchful eye on the market while providing a direction to your brand.
And since the digital landscape is changing ever so rapidly, consumer research is extremely vital. Without using the right resources to maximize market research efforts, your business can become lost and more so, become a prisoner of your assumptions. So put on your research hat, channel your inner geek, and get started!
Happy Researching! :)
Reach out to our research experts to know more about how you can create the right market research strategy for your business!
With the deadly virus and the national lockdown upon us, there has been very little to look forward to during this year. But thanks to OTT (Over the Top) platforms and the nation’s undying love for cricket, we are now anticipating the return of the fun-filled Indian Premier League (IPL) in the second half of this year. The 2020 IPL, like so many other events this year, will be held like never before. For one, the stadiums won't be packed with tens of thousands of passionate fans, as the tournament will be conducted in UAE with limited spectators. More importantly, the advertising engine that drives revenue for the IPL will be largely limited to digital platforms. OTT platforms like Hotstar are in prime position to capture even greater audiences and thus, have become the sole focus for brands. If you want to grab eyeballs during the 2020 IPL, a keen understanding of advertising on OTT platforms is crucial.
OTT platforms are one of the fastest-growing networks of today’s Indian online marketing world. With more people turning to digital platforms for all their needs due to the lockdown, these platforms have witnessed a tremendous spike in the last couple of months. With the current speed of growth, it is now roughly estimated that by the end of 2023, the Indian OTT marketing world would have a whopping 500 million viewers online.
One of the nation’s very own OTT platforms that is also the most-subscribed app in India, is Hotstar. Hotstar is owned by Novi Digital Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of Star India. As of May 2020, there are 8 million paid subscribers and 300 million active subscribers on Hotstar alone. Since IPL streaming is a service provided to paid subscribers, we think it is safe to say that we can expect another spike in the number of subscribers for the sake of the Indian Premier League.
Ultimately, video advertising is one of the most effective forms of advertising. An average person in India spends approximately 3.5 hours on video streaming on smartphones. In addition to that, 69% of internet users have one or more entertainment or video applications downloaded on their phones. With more than 95% of Indian households being single television households, the video-in-hand demand has made a huge difference to video advertising. This is probably why the 2019 IPL broke viewership records with up to 462 million viewers watching the game online and upto 300 million viewers watching it on Hotstar.
The following are some of the reasons why brands should advertise in this nation’s most awaited game on Hotstar:
After last year’s record-breaking viewership of 462 million viewers (300 million from Hotstar alone), this year we expect an outstanding increase in the viewership rate owing to the lockdown as well as the Disney+Hotstar audience pool of 250 million viewers.
With the previous IPL advertising rates being expensive and affordable only to the biggies of advertising, many small scale businesses could not advertise in the IPL. This year, however, the IPL offers a starting package of 1 lakh INR only - which means more brands will be advertising on this medium.
As per the audience interest, 66% are annual travelers, 60% are monthly online shoppers, 40% are degree/diploma holders, 70% are investors of stocks and MFs, and 90% have paid subscriptions. This opens up a vast variety of opportunities for brands to reach their audiences.
With around 56 matches, each match has around 2,300 seconds of ad inventory.
Hotstar advertisement in IPL 2020 offers remarkable engagement from viewers right through Pre, as well as Post live show updates and Highlights.
Since the public will not be able to physically attend the matches this year, the IPL experience is going to be different from the previous years. The same goes for advertising in IPL. Some of the most popular Hotstar advertisement practices in IPL are as follows:
Similar to an outdoor advertising billboard, a billboard is a big banner of your brand that can be in the form of an image, video, or a series of images as a photo carousel. A billboard may be placed on any content page such as the home page, news, sports, movies, etc.
10-30 seconds of unskippable ads that play during live match breaks/between programs. This is the most popular form of advertising used by a larger number of brands.
These ads are non-clickable ads that pop up during the crucial moments of the game. This ensures high engagement and visibility that offers a remarkable boost to your brand.
These are banners that carry the brand logo and their message and are placed right below the live streaming of the match in the social live feed.
IPL Advertising is a great opportunity for both moderate as well as high budget advertisers. It is used by a variety and a large number of brands in order to reach their target audience. Since Hotstar is the most subscribed application and IPL is the most-watched game, the two put together a remarkable number of viewers and a large audience of different likes and dislikes. With reduced rates and higher user engagement after the Disney tie-up with Hotstar, now is the best time to invest in advertising on Hotstar!
When you live the brand, it is so much easier to build it. Simeran Bhasin, Co-Founder of Innerwear Brand, BRAG, has lived by this policy that has constantly helped her gain over two decades of experience with brands across diverse consumer segments including kids, youth, and luxury. After having worked with Fastrack by Titan, Manipal Hotels, Britannia, and Wildcraft in 2014, she turned entrepreneur and launched India's 1st and only young girl focused Innerwear brand - BRAG, in 2016.
During our webinar series, Simeran Bhasin shared her journey of working with some of the most iconic brands, her insights on making a campaign successful for GenZ, and how she scaled up Fastrack, Wildcraft, and now BRAG at a national level. Throwing light upon her learnings throughout her journey, she believes that it’s important to stay true to the brand essence and that each brand should find a way to become relevant to its consumers in order for it to become a success.
Starting with your journey with Fastrack - from watches to a lifestyle brand for the youth, was the transition easy?
“Everyone in the team at Fastrack was excited about trying something new. I always believed that we have to live the brand to build it and connect with it. That was our starting point. In a company like Titan, the transition was easy. Entrepreneurship is in the blood of Titan. It’s the organization that allowed us to explore innovative avenues for the brand. It’s comparatively easier to build a new brand from scratch or with a relatively smaller brand that is open to experimentation.”
How has it been like to scale brands with national presence?
“It’s simply the amalgamation of a universal business insight, a relevant product insight, and the brand insight that gives the nationality and scalability of the brand across the country. Simultaneously, working on the other aspects of the brand to understand the consumers comes into play that help in scaling brands on a national scale.”
How did the insights garnered from other brands help in building BRAG?
“One has to put oneself into the consumer’s shoes. We were always building a brand for ourselves. Having human bodies come in indefinite shapes and sizes, making the age-appropriate product and creating age-appropriate communication were some of the key parts of BRAG’s brand strategy. With some key hits and misses from the brand, having multiple channels explored, and a direct-to-consumer approach, it all fell into place.”
How would you define BRAG’s vision and why did you pick this particular brand name?
“Brag’s vision has always been “To bring girls’ innerwear out of the closet and onto the streets”. It inspires and aspires for women to speak. Product stereotype, business model stereotype, and the gender stereotypes were the hurdles that we jumped to create the brand. BRAG- the name was short, simple and it connected with our target group. We, as marketers, need to make it simpler for the consumers. The aim was always to leave behind a legacy and create an impact, however, we have seen the definitions of impact change every few months. The priorities shifted from having a cool product to a comfortable one. It’s been a vertical learning curve.”
Insights, Hits, Misses, and more...
“The approach was never to start off as a direct-to-consumer brand. 95% of India shopped for innerwear from offline stores. The game has changed now. Indian retailers have always been a tough nut to crack but they saw BRAG as an opportunity. Our biggest validation came from them. Soon, we were on leading brands’ radars. BRAG’s biggest selling product was for tweens but we were targeting teens. That was an opportunity from the brand to tap onto which gave birth to Ms.Brag (beginner bra for tweens), contributing to 80% of the revenue. The biggest learning for us was to change the consumers (especially teens) mindsets and selling the idea of ‘comfort’ with innerwear, who were habitual to a conventional bra. It was more difficult than convincing a beginner. Switching is a very big challenge and we faced too many barriers. The girls loved what the product looked like, more than what it felt like. Some very strong cultural nuances like these would come up in conversations, revealing external-driven purchase processes. For example, how is it fitting vs how is it looking during the trial sessions? So changing behavior was one of the learnings.”
What according to you are the key drivers to build a brand for GenZ according to you?
“Building brands is not just about identifying the demographic and we tend to get caught up in this a lot. It’s the mindset of the youth in the context of the age segment that is more important. Today, youth brands include Levis and we have seen 70-year-olds wear Levis. They are young at heart. At Fastrack, we defined it as the ‘campus-mindset’ that exists in older generations and younger ones too but the center of the gravity of the mindset is always on the campus. If we get stuck at the age, we still might go too wide and won’t be sharply defined brands. GenZ is extremely authentic and honest as consumers, and they are aware of almost everything, from gender-sensitivity to democracy. When they consume content, they are much more opinionated that previous generations.”
Marketing strategies and channels - what was so different about BRAG?
“Balance between communication for the teens as well as the mothers was crucial. How will the brand look like if the consumer came across the content and how would a mum see it. In the case of tweens, it’s the mother who is taking the user to the product. Hence, we are doing education for the mothers but it’s in the voice of a young girl and we have a separate brand presence on social media for that. Indirectly, communication is what a mum would relate to. It has to be more fun and less awkward, all of that coming from a tween girl to her mother. The trust is built differently hence a separate platform is dedicated to that audience set. As a brand, we also cannot forget to talk to the other set of consumers who have their own voice (the teens) because that might backfire. The content has to be relatable to both the groups.”
New Market Segment Vs Competing in an Existing one - what are your thoughts?
“Playing within the segment is relatively simpler because we don’t need to sell the relevance of the product. For a new segment, you have to build awareness around the need from scratch. That takes a lot of effort and it was the biggest learning for me. It’s not only about creating awareness for the brand but also of the need. Behavior change takes a lot more effort. The risk also revolves around being too early in the market. In the case of existing competition, we need to convince people that what they are buying is not good enough.”
Changing strategies, Changing times during Covid-19 - any message for the branding agencies?
“Marketing is largely a variable expense. Given that there are fewer brands in the e-commerce space, marketing budgets will reduce. Brands are going to cut down projects. For agencies, It's also crucial to recognize ongoing expenses, make operations leaner, and pick smaller projects to meet expenses and keep the cash flow going. It also comes with figuring out of the box solutions towards communication and media, which was probably not part of the mandate in the past. Being overly supporting and going beyond the original mandate will be much appreciated. Humanizing the decisions is the key when it comes to supporting employees...”
Building a brand’s digital community - what should be the starting point of this?
“Ensuring the ‘why’ in place is crucial. Clear purpose, brand persona, brand tonality need to be in place, along with having a strong target group in mind, keeping your communication streamlined. The sharper it is, the greater the chance of success would be. Every brand is online today and everyone is saying they are cool. We should also be very clear on what we will not do or talk about and it should be all part of the brand too.”
Can Purpose become the Brand’s Voice?
“Yes, the purpose can become the brand voice. The purpose can go hand in hand with the brand’s personality and can be used to communicate the end goal. We talk about things that matter to the brand. It may or may not directly talk about the product sometimes. Today, all of us are curating our feeds based on interest so every creation of the brand revolves around the interest. You will attract consumers of that kind.”
Watch the complete session of Simeran Bhasin in conversation with Social Beat. Feel free to drop your questions if you still have questions for Simeran.
Gone are the days when marketing used to be about intuition and gut feelings. Today, in a world where people use their phones for about 60% of their day, it’s extremely important for brands to understand what a typical day would look like in the lives of their consumers. What time would they wake up? What kind of breakfast would they prefer? Would they take a cab to work, ride a bike or drive their own vehicle? Where do they work? Do they come home to a nuclear family or a joint family?
The questions are endless, and while it may seem that brands are trying too hard to sell emotions rather than products, well it is true! Maybe it’s time to stop a moment and ask yourself, do you buy a product or do you buy the emotion attached to it?
It is because of this very fact, that brands are paying a lot more attention to deriving insights into their consumers and their lifestyles. Insight-driven marketing is nothing but tapping into your consumers at the right time and place with the exact communication that they would want to receive. Insight-driven marketing can help you navigate your way closer to your consumer, and it also plays a vital role in formulating strategic business decisions based on the marketing insights you receive from your consumers.
Understanding the demographics and habits of your consumers is not just a matter of numbers but is an art in itself. With an exhaustive insight-marketing driven approach you will be able to dive deeper into the following:
And many more such questions, which then allows you to optimize your marketing strategy to deliver the best results.
Here are an astonishing few facts that we found online from a study that dives deep into consumer behaviour -
Did you know?
55% of people interested in grocery online are men
51% of women are interested in social and casual gaming
60% of men are likely to be in-market for jewellery
56% of fathers online are interested in being a chef
Tapping into your consumer at the right time, using the right channel, with the right communication, can result in higher conversions, higher engagement and higher revenues in return. Many brands in today’s era are looking at diversifying their persona and communication, making it more personal and customised for their consumers. For example, a brand that’s available in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities may want to communicate with their consumers in each tier differently, based on the kind of content each group resonates with, and the different channels each of them would be present on.
Knowing the consumer behaviour and patterns through first-party data is crucial, helping brands cross-sell and upsell products that may add value to the lives of our consumers.
Being able to track their behaviour and journey helps us dive deeper into whether or not they would be willing to purchase more products at even a higher price.
If a brand initially thinks of venturing into a new line of services, building a new product or expanding the current business in different markets, these decisions can be made a lot stronger and effective if they are based on facts and insights taken from the marketing data and their consumer’s behaviour.
While all this may seem a tad bit overwhelming, here’s a step by step process on how you can go about analysing your data and putting it to effective use.
While you may have run umpteen campaigns for your brand over the last year, giving you access to tons of data to look into, what’s really important is how you collate it, organise it and study the data. It’s extremely crucial to look for trends between your consumer demographics, age, gender, lifestyles and professions. For many brands, their data may not just end at consumer names, which cities they reside in, their age, profession and likes and dislikes, but also depend on which part of the communication did they most resonate with, that influenced their decision of buying the product or service.
Hence, for any brand that believes in connecting with their consumers, it is fundamental to understand:
Let’s follow a simple rule: Gather data points ------> Derive marketing insights -------> Jot down a way forward and implement
More often than not, marketing professionals pause at stage 2 - Which is deriving digital marketing insights from the data points. The key here is to apply all the insights to your campaigns and communication routes, which will, in turn, help the brand see improved business results and higher conversion rates, where consumers will start to resonate with the brand on a personal level.
Once you have implemented the marketing insights, the key is to compare data, both past and present, to be able to optimise your campaigns and strategy as you keep going. This will help retrospect on whether you’ve seen a rise in the sale of products and services of your brand and how much your brand has benefited from your insight-driven marketing approach.
Here’s one such example of insight-driven marketing implemented by us for Tata Mutual Fund’s – #NoToKatauti Campaign
To drive investments for their ELSS (Equity Linked Savings Scheme) Fund between November to March – which is the period when people resort to filing their taxes in India.
Process to gain insights:
We asked a bunch of 20-30 people over calls and video conferences, on how, when and under what circumstances they file their taxes.
Hence from this very thought, stemmed the campaign idea of #NoToKatauti!
Consumer segmentation based on data and behaviour analysis:
We divided our audiences based on four major factors in India, namely people’s love for cricket, love for food, the housewife community, and students.
Not only did we first deliver the video to them that they resonate with most, but we also followed it up with the other three in line, creating a ripple effect and building tremendous brand recall.
38.1% increase in brand lift
216.2% increase in brand interest
13.1% increase in brand awareness
25% of leads from YouTube
Here’s another example of insight-driven marketing implemented by India’s No.1 cookware brand, Wonderchef:
To create brand awareness, strategize and devise a campaign for a good cause.
We pulled out sufficient data to support the fact that the majority of men in India don’t cook, they don’t help out in household chores and they don’t have sufficient knowledge of ingredients. While we try to preach ‘Gender Equality’, are we really all that ‘Gender Equal’ as a country?
This very thought led us to create the campaign idea of #DearManHoldThePan.
We got out on the street to ask men their thoughts and gather more information on whether they knew basic ingredients, herbs and how to even break an egg without ruining its yolk! And guess what? The results were hilarious, but very satisfying in terms of numbers, reach and the appreciation we received. Not only did this make our case point stronger, but also helped us develop more content, in the form of posts, influencer videos and a whole lot more!
Reach – 14 Million
Engaging about 3 Lakh Viewers
And we turned a whole lot of eyeballs!
Various examples have shown us time and again that personalised marketing is a digital trend that adds a whole different dimension and layer to any campaign or brand. By reflecting different facets of an audience’s personality, a product or campaign is bound to be a success. Relatability makes room for connection, and thus engagement, which is why marketing insights will never fail you. And with performance marketing, the insights only ever grow, enabling you to drive growth continually for your brand.
There are many things uniting us during this lockdown. One of which is our online content consumption, particularly videos. Does it feel like you’ve seen everything? Admit it. At some point, we’ve literally become one of the several memes we share daily.
Btw, my favorite pasta sauce (Arrabbiata FYI) tells me I eat healthy, read a lot and bring happiness to people. So… I have new goals for this month in lockdown.
As a consequence of the pandemic and uncertainty of the future, we are all dealing with anxiety and stress, literally keeping us up at night. Being restricted indoors and being inundated with grim news definitely doesn’t help. There has been a rise in good news movements across the world to bring some hope and positivity to people.
We are actively seeking, looking at, and sharing meaningful content to boost each other in these strange times, to stay connected as we socially distance ourselves.
It’s the ideal time for brands to publish content that can leave a lasting positive impact. Let’s talk numbers. 92% of marketers say video is an important part of their strategy as it provides positive ROI. 65% of users watch over three-quarters of a video and 92% of users on their mobile devices tend to share videos with their circle.
Here are some video types you can explore at this time (and where we can help!):
Let’s pretend we are in college and get back to the basics: boot-strap filmmaking. The idea plays a bigger role than the production quality. Sony Pictures & Kalyan Jewellers recently provided this gem which managed to connect all of the Indian audiences. UpGrad got some stars to film themselves at home to encourage upskilling while we sit at home.
With all of us missing the good ol’ office days, Tata Cliq came to us to create a campaign that could soothe work-from-home blues. While content surrounding employees missing workplaces already existed, we decided to tell the story from a different perspective. The campaign film is narrated through different inanimate objects around office, telling employees #YouMadeItCliq. The film was executed using purchased stock footage and voice-overs from different theatre artists and radio jockeys to bring the objects to life.
After Team Social Beat went into work-from-home mode, we produced a home-made video to check-in and remind each other the proper way to wash hands. For Earth Day, we published a video made entirely from copyright-free videos sourced online. Using in-house talent to get the narration in place and minimal text narration, we encouraged people to remain conscious of the use of the earth’s resources, even after lockdown.
There are several ways a video can be executed even with the on and off-screen talent sitting in their own homes. The video content is what sets it apart. While different themes can be explored, the two popular routes we see at this time is humour and the social/empathetic route. It’s crucial to focus on the message of the video as, in this scenario, the idea trumps production quality.
These videos can be used across channels to engage with your audience. As YouTube ads to social media posts and stories, depending on the type and duration, these videos can be churned out relatively quickly. Ideal to stay relevant, tap into trending topics, and publish timely content.
An easily communicable disease making its way across the globe can be pretty terrifying, more so for those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Dr. Reddy’s reached out to us to create a film for their nutritional health drink, Celevida. The campaign film, #WinLifeEveryDay, showcases the key benefits of the health drink being a nutritional supplement for diabetics, supporting immunity and helping fight against infections.
Another group of people who are home and are experts at producing home-made videos that can help promote your brand in an authentic way - influencers.
Influencer marketing campaigns are a no-brainer in the current climate. Not only do we consume a lot of influencer videos, we are guilty of turning into mini influencers with posts on new workouts, recipes, hobbies, and more! Even those of us who swore off TikTok have now participated in and posted our TikTok challenges. This is a safe space, you can admit it.
Our influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in, has an extensive database of more than 40K influencers across categories like lifestyle, health, fashion, food, entertainment, and more! With the ban of TikTok in Jun 2020, there are a host of TikTok alternatives that have come up in India too.
For Himalaya Quista Pro, we partnered with influencers to share home workout tips and routines. boAt took to TikTok with the campaign #boAtheadStayINsane, creating challenges that can be done indoors and encouraging the audience to do the same. With social distancing in place, Khatabook took to TikTok to tell shopowners not to worry, they just need to download the app to get their pending payments.
Since people are indoors and available, it’s a great time to go LIVE. There has been a jump in people viewing and participating in Live videos across TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Partnering with influencers and experts, through Live Q&As, FAQs, interviews, and more, brands can start a dialogue directly with their audience.
There are plenty of ways we can continue to engage our audience through videos. What’s important to ensure is that the message communicated through the video does not come across as insensitive and out-of-touch which will reverberate long after we cross this tunnel. It’s crucial to stay empathetic, true, and show solidarity in these unprecedented times.
I’ll leave you with this meme.
Interest and investment in augmented reality and immersive digital marketing is greater than it’s ever been before. Through the journey of evolving brands, we have witnessed the adoption of a mobile-first creative approach. Augmented Reality marketing provides brands with a highly desired tool in their belt when it comes to driving sales and enhancing brand value through mobile devices.
The explosive growth of immersive marketing saw big brand wins during the early days of the adoption of AR in marketing. Because of this, AR emerged as one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends, alongside voice commerce and the use of first-party data. Industries ranging from e-commerce to fintech and FMCGs raced to leverage AR marketing for their brands.
This growth has been witnessed with Augmented Reality marketing playing a key role in social media marketing as well. While Snapchat was one of the first social media giants to adopt AR, Instagram was quick to follow. Google, too, launched AR powered 3D images in searches for products on various e-commerce brands early this year. This proves that AR can be used in multiple ways for a number of different reasons, whether it’s increasing user engagement or offering interactive elements for consumers.
The first step to creating a space to build AR-powered apps, experiences and campaigns were taken by tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google. They created platforms like Spark AR, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARCore which made it simpler to leverage AR in marketing and products for any brand.
But the doors for AR marketing only really opened with the conception of Facebook’s augmented reality suite Spark AR Studio. This tool allowed anyone to create their own filters and campaigns which could be utilized for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Free for all to use, Spark AR by Facebook has provided a platform for many brands to create their own AR effects and filters. This quickly launched Augmented Reality marketing to new heights.
While e-commerce brands, specifically beauty and lifestyle, were quick to tap into the feature by allowing customers to try out products, brands also leveraged AR for high impact brand awareness. A prime example of this was Adidas Original’s decision to create a custom AR effect that was in line with the trend of vintage filters and retro photographs at the time. Their filter added a nostalgic look to your stories, including a ‘glitch’ effect. This custom AR effect was extremely share-worthy, very on-trend and was perfect for building brand awareness!
AR marketing witnessed a peak in the entertainment industry as well, with several well-known media giants tapping into Augmented Reality marketing for the launch of largescale projects. Known celebrities and producers used AR in marketing for movies, TV shows, and even new music. This was seen most prominently with Netflix. One of their largest campaigns tied up with the New York Times and Google Lens for readers to scan and discover images that led to a Stranger Things reveal.
The use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is expected to steadily grow as more brands across sectors leverage it to engage their core audience. India is projected to increase both the creation and consumption of immersive media following the global trend. Brands in real estate, media and entertainment, automotive, and retail are expected to showcase the maximum adoption due to clear use cases, as per the Nasscom Graphic: Geetanjali.
By 2022, over $6.5 billion would be the estimated size of the Indian immersive media market, with a higher percentage of it pouring in from the Augment Reality market. Around $5.9 billion is expected, in comparison to the $0.5 billion estimated from the VR market, due to higher costs for creation and execution. The explosive growth of 172% from 2018 to 2022 can be attributed to the easily accessible tools and adoption of Immersive media by top Indian brands.
AR marketing has the capability to improve and create an immersive experience thereby leading to better brand perception if created well. As such, it is essential for brands not to use AR for novelty purposes, but to build a more seamless experience that would provide a positive AR experience while thinking about the long-term benefits of the experience.
Brands like Pepsi, with their #SwagStepChallenge and Lifebuoy, with #LifebuoyKarona, have used AR filters to create hashtag challenges on channels like TikTok to increase buzz around the brand. They roped in celebrities and influencer marketing campaigns to further amplify their AR filters. This helped create a massive awareness of their brand recording explosive cumulative reach of over 85 Billion views on both hashtags on TikTok, without the notion of driving sales or action.
Augmented Reality is often perceived with the restricted utility reserved for selfies or social media filters. However, the Augmented Reality market can stretch further this with the capacity for much larger impact. The ability to allow a customer to try out products without leaving their home or their screen is a level of immersion and interaction that even interactive ads cannot offer.
By creating AR versions of a product or set of products, brands can provide customers with a better idea on the actual look and feel, while simultaneously setting the right expectations for them in terms of the deliverables.
Brands that have most heavily used and relied on leveraging the tool are present in the retail, beauty and lifestyle segments. L’Oréal’s virtual makeup tool was a path-defining AR creation which helped customers across the globe test and try their makeup virtually anywhere. They added another step helping to enhance the marketability - the option to try the superimposed makeup in real-time with the filter, or take an existing picture to upload and have the filter tested on.
On the other hand, providing a vision to home and interiors, IKEA paved a way for real estate companies by allowing customers to view their products in real-time within their own homes. This increased the possibility of purchase with increased visualization, leaving very little to the imagination.
The real estate sector now faces the need to implement AR in product visualisation as well, especially to keep up with marketing during COVID-19. With fewer brokers and agents taking on home visits due to the restrictions imposed by authorities, it has become difficult to meet the existing demand for house hunters. While many have turned to virtual tours, AR can significantly drive sales, during and after this pandemic.
Your core audience is bombarded with a colossal amount of marketing messages every day, making it hard for marketers to ensure their message is heard. Providing your brand with the parachute of AR and adding a layer of immersive marketing can place it above other brands in a consumer's mind.
Making the brand more interactive, healthcare brand Medlife leveraged Facebook Augmented Reality marketing to educate viewers on the CPR procedure. This created deeper engagement for the audience by providing learning and greater rewards to their subconscious mind as well.
For brands who are dependent on the physical store experience to drive business, Augmented Reality provides the potential to amplify this by creating a digital experience simultaneously. A frequent example of this is seen with QR codes and bar codes that can be scanned. Doing so pulls up an AR manual or experience with detailed information on the product and brand.
Two popular examples of Hyundai and Mercedes have showcased how the auto industry has utilized AR to improve customer experiences. While Hyundai created AR-powered manuals for drivers, Mercedes created an app integrating AI to ‘Ask Mercedes’ any questions relating to the product and brand similar to a chatbot.
Augmented reality is a tool which can transform the B2B customer-vendor experience with the help of a single click. Limitations of what a vendor is able to provide, along with the misaligned customer experiences, is eliminated with the help of AR.
Creating dynamic sales presentation material to the customer with AR-powered content can provide a virtual 360-degree look at their product lines, and is one of the most used technologies in the B2B space.
Ever imagined that you could be in two places at once? With the help of a VR headset, this can be achieved. This novelty soon became a reality as the COVID-19 outbreak caused many companies to shift to a work-from-home model. Business continuity is a key focus for organizations while they are also looking to stay home to stay safe, but also want to provide real-time experiences. VR technology plays an important role to achieve this.
Companies like Quess, which is focused on sales-driven marketing and human interaction has their employees getting AI-powered training on their mobile devices. The face-reading AI also provides them with real-time feedback on their voice modulation, tone and facial expressions and key notes to focus on for improvement.
The biggest learning digital marketers can take from this is that it’s time to adapt. Investing in the available AI technologies to maximize your results has become the need of the hour. It is critical for your brand to reach the objective of managing more data effectively and improving your consumer experience.
The creative potential of using AR in marketing can provide your concepts and campaigns with an increased potential for brand awareness and recognition. 2020 is the year to explore immersive marketing to maximize your brand’s potential. At Social Beat, we implement a mixed marketing strategy which includes AR to enhance our efforts and deliver results.
In a constantly evolving economic landscape, there are many challenges that marketing leaders need to overcome. They are under constant pressure to improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns by lowering acquisition costs and increasing profitability. There has also been a significant shift in the data landscape along with increasing privacy concerns after the GDPR and Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
A cost-effective way to overcome these challenges would be to start looking internally and utilizing existing business assets. Leading companies like Nestle, Ikea, and others, are also looking to leverage high-quality first-party data in their marketing strategies. First-party data becomes an important factor for a successful marketing campaign and marketers who don’t adapt would be missing out a great deal.
Earlier this year, Google declared that Chrome, which is the most widely used browser in the world, would start eliminating support for third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are a simple line of code placed by websites on a user’s hard drive. These cookies form the basis of building behavioural profiles of users on the internet and help marketers in their targeting.
Companies who are at the centre of consumer data, including Facebook, Twitter and Oracle, are slowly moving away from third-party data. On the other hand, a widespread concern around data privacy has led to consumers becoming more aware and demanding increased levels of data privacy. Browsers like Chrome, Safari and Mozilla are now blocking third-party cookies in their browsers.
All of this combined would have a large impact on the targeting options available for advertisers. With third-party cookies now becoming irrelevant, first-party data in marketing automatically becomes a brand’s best option to track and target customers for their online campaigns.
Any data that you collect directly from consumers and with their consent is known as first-party data. This data is usually reliable and trustworthy and can help drive high-value leads and limit unnecessary ad spends. For a brand, their online sources for collecting first-party data in marketing would be the company’s website, app, CRM, social media, email marketing, surveys etc.
In November 2019, sportswear giant Nike had announced that they will stop selling on Amazon and focus on selling direct-to-consumer via its own website and app. This decision comes as a part of their vision to elevate consumer experiences and build direct and personal retail experiences with its consumers. Selling directly through their own online properties and retail stores would also mean Nike can completely control and own their first-party data. This move by Nike shows us that they are confident in driving all traffic to their own website to enhance the consumer experience and also lower acquisition costs and improve profitability. This might just be the tip-of-the-iceberg and actually be indicative of the start of a massive shift in how brands sell online and start opting for the direct-to-consumer strategy. And this, in turn, could lead first-party data in marketing to become a new digital marketing trend in the making.
For brands looking to accelerate their adoption of first-party data in marketing, one of the most important and invaluable assets they already own are in-bound consumer calls. As per a recent survey, consumers are increasingly turning to phone conversations during the path of their purchase journey. A lot of research happens online but they also prefer to call a brand when they want some specific information and are nearing the end of the decision-making process especially in case of high-value purchases or time-sensitive products and services.
Consumers are having important conversations and asking brands for more information that is relevant to them. They are sharing their concerns, their purchase intent and so much more on these calls. These inbound calls are a treasure trove of highly valuable information and it’s time for brands to pay attention and listen to what their consumers are saying.
Policy Bazaar, India’s leading insurance aggregator strives to provide its customers with a smooth hassle-free experience by digitizing its processes. Considering that insurance is not a one size fits all sort of industry, Policy Bazaar has been constantly implementing AI and latest tech solutions including chatbots to understand their consumer personas and ensure to sell the right product to the right consumer. They were one of the earliest companies to discover a goldmine of consumer insights in their 35 million minutes of monthly talk time via voice analytics. One of the key insights they found after analysing the word cloud of their conversations was that a lot of their customers were using the word cashless. The marketing teams assumed that consumers would be more concerned with premiums, claims, bonuses etc., and so there was no focus on showcasing the cashless network. Within a week’s time, the team launched a new feature that would show the customers a list of cashless networks that were available in the policies they were interested in.
AI in marketing intelligence can help turn calls into rich first-party data with actionable insights. Analysing these customer conversations and deriving key insights which can be implemented into the marketing campaigns and communication strategy will in-turn lead to a highly effective communication strategy, increase in conversion rates and lower acquisition costs.
Brands that are activating and collecting first-party data should be using this data to personalize the content on ads that are being shown to a particular user. In the case of e-commerce companies, understanding past purchase behaviour and knowing what your consumer likes or has added to their cart before will help you segment your audiences and show them relevant messages based on which step of the consumer journey they are in. Another key aspect is that brands should ensure to deliver personalized experiences across the entire marketing funnel of their campaigns.
Tata Mutual Funds, a leading mutual funds investment company had launched a campaign called #SayNoToKatauti which aimed at striking the right chords with personalized content to deliver higher engagement and reach. The campaign had a series of four brand films that had a common messaging point of tax-saving investments. The protagonist in each of the videos was in different relatable and everyday scenarios, like watching a cricket match or ordering food, which was then targeted and shown to people based on their own interests.
Personalized campaigns with AI marketing and first-party data would also automatically mean higher efficiency and reach of your campaigns across all your digital marketing platforms. On Facebook, you can create lookalike audiences from your first-party data which are very powerful and can help build the right mix of good quality and scale both. Google has also recently launched combined audiences which is enabling advertisers to narrow down their target audience and serve impressions to people who fit into two categories. For example, you could target people who have visited your site in the last 60 days and also are part of the in-market audience for your category. This combination makes your targeting more efficient and helps you spend your money effectively thereby improving your ROI.
AI in marketing is also quickly becoming the future of digital. With AI marketing, you can make a campaign immersive and experiential for a user, encouraging them to engage with a website or ad better. AI can use first-party data to leverage information and display content or information tailored to their liking, thus increasing the likelihood of driving them through to the end of the funnel. A prime example of this is the streaming services that have taken the world by storm - whether it’s television or music. By using AI, these companies display personalised recommendations that push the user to engage further with the service, optimising their experience with first-party behavioural data.
In today’s marketing scenario first-party data is becoming an increasingly popular choice and marketers are looking to utilize it across all platforms to accomplish their key marketing objectives. It is crucial for brands to take control and utilize their first-party data to improve ROI across their marketing efforts. Businesses must invest in building trusted and personalized relationships with consumers and raise the bar for transparency and data privacy. At Social Beat, we analyse first-party data from different sources to fuel campaigns and leverage different types of engaging content for target audiences to drive conversions. Is your company making the shift to first-party data?