‘Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty.’ A quote from Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of marketing, in an article she wrote in 2015.
INTENT BEATS IDENTITY. IMMEDIACY TRUMPS LOYALTY
It is a fascinating read, the crux of which is for all the benefits of understanding target demographics, it is far more important for a brand to understand consumer intent.
Gevelber gives several examples where brands focusing on a demographic would result in them completely overlooking another segment of opportunity. One such example she gives is in relation to baby products. ‘According to our research, 40% of baby product purchasers live in households without children. This is also true for 52% of baby product influencers. These people could be grandparents and cousins, friends, and co-workers.’
Brands purely focusing on household demographic data for those with children are reducing their reach significantly as her point implies there is a large market whose buying behaviours will include providing and caring for children, despite them not being in their household. What Gevelber is referring to with her standout quote can be further examined if it is broken down.
BREAKING THE QUOTE DOWN
Intent beats identity – the desire and also the needs of a consumer goes beyond demographic data.
Immediacy trumps loyalty – through resonating with consumers at the moment of need – understanding their wants and desires at the point of when they needed most will mean an ‘immediate’ switch from one brand (regardless of how long they have been using it) to another.
Ultimately if a brand isn’t present and visible the exact moment a consumer needs it, they are going to lose custom. If a brand can’t rise above the noise of all their competitors and be heard directly, connect with its consumers and moreover potential consumers, they will inevitably drown in the sea of equivalency.
A methodology devised by YouTube, and used by brands such as Red Bull and Volvo, is the Hero, Hub, Help content strategy. The HHH strategy provides marketing content that is regular, but also creates a dialogue with its consumers beyond brand awareness. Employing this approach means when a consumer is online looking for something, the brand is there and they have already answered the need – whether that is an answer to a question, information, entertainment or customer service
A BRAND MUST BE USEFUL
Crucially, after being found at the time when a consumer needs something, the brand must then be useful. However much brand loyalty a consumer may have, if that brand is not providing the relevant answers/information/services/content at the exact moment a consumer needs them, then they will simply go elsewhere. Loyalty to a brand is invariable created when the consumer feels valued and to create this type of relationship, conversation and trust must be at its core. That is why the HHH strategy is so effective, because it is so comprehensive it puts the brand in the position to create engagement with its audience irrespective of consumers lifecycle.
A bit like an archaeological dig – demographic data is like discovering the foundations of a former civilisations city, but without further analysing the design, layout, structure and types of materials used in the ancient city, there is no insight as to the intentions and behaviours of it’s inhabitants. Through combining data with further analysis you are able to plan your marketing strategy that will meet the needs and resonate with your consumers.