Are we all missing a big opportunity?
I wondered the other day: just how many great marketing organizations are currently focused on small points of relevance and differentiation with their products, while ignoring much bigger and more important insights?
I have been in a number of discussions recently where we have been building improvements to products in line with product based insights about our consumers, and knowledge of our target consumer segments. This usually leads to some small packaging design changes, minor product upgrades or pricing changes. Within the consumer, category and segment contexts in which we look at the world, all of these things are good and make sense. However, going home the other day I was on a tube where the guy sitting next to me was doing his groceries on his phone. We had missed something:
Our consumers real world is so much more vast and complex than our sophisticated modelled views, that in looking at something so specific we were missing something huge.
Consumers are changing. Digital, and mobile technology, are changing them in ways which we are all only beginning to grasp: They are more informed. They find products differently. The choose products differently. They buy products using this technology and then publish and share product recommendations based on experience. All of these factors are fundamental to marketers, and anyone using a modern mobile smartphone should catch this. But how many of us are acting on it as a first order priority for our products and the way we sell? My guess: not many. Most are paying lip service to the movement, but few are building their offers up directly from it.
Ask yourself: In this context, what is more important: looking at the new colors for this season, or making sure consumers can browse, share and buy it through their devices? Adding a new slogan to your packaging, or ensuring a web based contact point allows consumers to contact you immediately (especially unhappy ones)? I would posit that unless you are selling to an over 65+ demo, there will be more value in the latter choices that are focused on the broader digital movement – for every one of our businesses.
The lesson here for me is that you need to look for the most obvious and generic insights first, before you focus on the more narrow, segmented and differentiated. You don’t want to be blinded by detail.