Humans are people just like you and me. They’re complicated, multi-faceted and full of contradictions. They have a life. They don’t always analyze all their options when they buy things and they don’t care about stuff you may think they should care about.
“Consumer” is an outdated concept. It’s too simplistic. It refers to those who buy, eat, use and do nothing else. Marketing used to be about figuring out rational product benefits and emotional rewards of use. Now it’s about conveying a belief system people can buy into like they join a political movement or a religion. If you’re marketing to consumers you’re not only behind the times you’re missing out on a powerful way to solidify your relationship with the person who buys your product.
It’s time to get “human insights.”
It’s time to get an understanding of buyers for what they are: human beings, the most evolved form of life on our planet. They have belief systems created by their culture, their upbringing, their experiences, the whole ball of wax that has made them who they are. Understanding them as humans provides a more nuanced picture. It lets you get a handle on context, on what really matters in their life, not just what matters when you try to sell them your product.
Once you have a feel for what really matters to people you can shape your brand’s belief system to differentiate it from the competition. Brands that stand for something people care about have values and ideals just like people. They allow people to connect in a way that goes beyond product features and price. They draw buyers to them to reflect the way they want to be.
Standing for something bigger than product benefits lets you tie together a whole line of products. It can insulate the brand from the constant game of trying to react to competitive moves. It can represent something that remains powerful even as the products evolve with changing times.
So if you’ve got a handle on the “consumer” it’s time to use qualitative to understand “humans” at a level that goes beyond the category. And just as important, give consideration to what you as a brand really care about, on a human level.
Let me know what you think.
Marketing Research Consultant