The importance of customer insight to search strategy

How well do you think you know your target audiences?  Do you know why they love your brand?  Do you know what makes them loyal to you?  Do you know what they do in their spare time?  Which of your competitors they also shop with and why?  How often they hang out online, what social networks and media outlets they read?  How much they are prepared to spend in one single transaction and what they think about your delivery service?

At Leapfrogg, we believe that no marketing campaign can be truly effective unless you have a genuine understanding of the audiences you are targeting.  This is even more important in digital marketing where you have opportunities to influence your publics ‘in the moment’ via natural, paid search and social channels.

Customer insight is at the heart of all of our campaigns as reflected in the graphic below:

Whether it be it from a client’s ongoing work with a data research partner, our own market research projects for clients into their existing and target audiences, our ‘secret shopper’ campaigns, or regular ‘temperature checking’ of your audiences via social channels, you can only build a compelling digital marketing strategy if you understand what your target audience cares about, what compels them and what they want from a brand, product or service.

Once you start developing an understanding of your customer, you can then build a compelling and strategic content plan that cascades through all your digital marketing channels, including search, on-page website content, PR activity and social media.  The content workshops we run are always informed and led by insight and understanding of our clients customer personas, which means that all creatives or campaign ideas brainstormed during these sessions are already targeted at specific audiences.

We’ve often found that learnings from digitally orientated research have also helped shape off-line spend.  We recently undertook some research work into the digital reading habits of a client’s trade audience.  Being in a position to ask a target audience what journals and newsletters that they actually read and why, has informed much sharper offline and third party partner above the line plans.

Leapfrogg also conducts its own insight projects once a quarter, the most recent of which explored the habits and behaviours of consumers purchasing premium products and services.

One of the most surprising pieces of insight that dropped out of our own recent research was the average income bracket of the ‘premium shopper’: £23,000 per annum.  When we talked this through with our clients, it significantly broadened their own image of who their target audience was.  Supported with detail around how these people shop and what online functionality compels them to buy, it is encouraging us to test search terms and try social and paid search tactics that may add huge value to digital campaigns.

Customer Insight isn’t just a one off project; you can’t soak up everything you need to know about your target audiences in a single hit. As your brand evolves, as does your understanding, engagement level and conversations with your existing and developing audience and that’s one of the most exciting things about it – your customer can often move as quickly as the digital landscape in which you are operating.

The ultimate objective from understanding your target audience should be to develop such a good relationship with them that they become not just repeat customers, but advocates of your brand.  If spending time and a relatively small part of your marketing budget on customer insight in the beginning enables you to communicate more effectively and amplify your brand through an engaged and positive public, surely it’s an investment well spent.

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