Gaining A Competitive Edge With The Connected Consumer

Posted by Lisa Nielsen

January 8, 2014 at 8:59 AM

The Always On Consumer

As unsettling as it may seem, the instant access that consumers now have to product reviews and pricing comparisons can represent some new opportunities to outmaneuver your competitors and kick start a new era of sustainable growth. Here are some tips for getting to the next level in a changing consumer marketplace.

In a research study conducted by Accenture, a global management and consulting services firm, industry growth leaders had three elements in common that set them apart from competitors and helped to ensure longer-term brand engagement from customers:

  • An “analytical toolkit” that enabled them to continuously identify, assess and respond to opportunities with target consumers, allowing them to alter their marketing and brand strategy in real time.
  • An “adaptive mindset” that enhanced their ability to think outside of the box, as well as recognize & act upon market disruptions to enhance their business model.
  • An “agile organization” that could react and change direction quickly to capture emerging opportunities. They were versatile enough to introduce new business models, which complemented the more traditional models.

From the study of industry growth leaders, the following tactics were identified as effective ways to gain valuable consumer knowledge and outfox competitors.

Implement a PR Strategy and Track Results

  • Gain exposure to your audience by tailoring consistent messaging around your brand/product that appeals to each of your target markets.
  • Spread this messaging through news releases, newsletters, blogs, social media, speaking opportunities and outbound communications to member of the press.

Follow Consumer Sentiment

  • Follow online customer sentiment by reviewing consumer engagement/conversations on social media. (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest (if applicable), as well as blogs, forums and online news media.)
  • Sentiment analysis helps to determine consumer attitudes about a product/ topic, the opinions of a demographic and provides you with insight into what your target audience values.
  • A brand with a social media presence benefits from an additional platform to engage with prospects and be proactive with current customers.

Invest in Market Research and Analyze it for Trends/Opportunities

  • Conduct primary and secondary consumer research.
  • Primary – Phone Survey, mail survey, intercept surveys and focus groups.
    Secondary – Analyze existing data from magazines, newspapers, trade journals, annual reports and other sources and interpret your findings.

  • Monitor competitive behavior; new products, new markets, acquisitions, financial stability, etc.
  • Engage customers with after purchase questionnaires to obtain demographic/lifestyle data, gauge customer satisfaction, measure brand loyalty and identify consumer trending patterns. Real feedback to pertinent and personal questions will provide a deeper understanding of what the customer desires from your product/service.

Provide Accurate, Up-To-Date Product Information On All Consumer Touchpoints

  • Make more product information available online in the form of videos, product images, downloadable instruction sheets, literature, product specifications, FAQ’s, etc.
  • Ensure product listings at all retailer websites is complete, images correctly represent the product listed and product information is accurate.

Consumer interests can change in a flash, and companies who develop and broadcast consistent target messaging, follow consumer sentiment, invest in market research and provide an abundance of relevant, accurate product information can maintain competitive relevancy. If you would like to explore integrating any of the above elements into your marketing strategy, give us a call.

Topics: Consumer Research