3 Ways to Use Data to Keep Up with Changing Consumer Preferences

Consumer preferences are always changing, and it seems impossible for brands to pinpoint them completely. But making profiles of customers as individuals is so important for creating personalized offerings that will get you noticed online.

The best way to create complete target customer profiles? Data. Although bringing data together to form dynamic target customer profiles can be challenging, it’s also essential.

The Benefits of Personalization in Marketing

Being able to understand and empathize with customers is the first and most vital step to reaching them on a personal level online. With 86% of consumers more likely to buy from brands that offer personalized experiences, it’s no wonder companies that practice personalization in digital marketing tend to outperform their competition.

People are multifaceted. For example, I enjoy searching for dessert recipes on weekends. If it’s warm outside, I’m more likely to look for recipes for sundaes and other summer sweets. During the week, though, I often search for quick and healthy recipes. A brand that truly understands me knows that I’m more than my sweet tooth or my healthy-eating tendencies.

Context is vital for understanding these kinds of changing consumer preferences. And the ramifications of getting marketing personalization strategies wrong are severe. You can end up with wasted years (not the Iron Maiden song), investing time and resources into a system you have to scrap. Poor implementation of marketing personalization strategies has cost U.S. companies about $756 billion annually!

Creating customer profiles requires a deep understanding of data schemas, databases, and all those other techie things that you probably don’t have the time or resources to master. It’s not easy to build data science from the ground up — that’s why you need a plan to make the most of the data you have.

If you’re wondering how to create a customer profile that responds to changes in consumer attitudes, tastes, and preferences, here are three strategies to incorporate in your business — no matter what level of data you’re working with:

1. Rally around your goals.

If you start with your success metrics and goals, then you can build your data and marketing personalization strategies in a purposeful direction (without wasting time and resources on dead ends). Goals will also help you tailor your marketing messages toward your target consumers. And if your metrics are specific, you can use them to narrow your focus, giving customers more highly targeted experiences and recommendations.

2. Forget demographic segmentation.

Demographics like gender and age used to tell us a lot about customers’ tastes and preferences, and we’re still programmed to focus on them as we craft our customer personas. But modern consumers are so nuanced that they can’t be defined by these demographics alone. The more important focus now is psychographics — how customers think, feel, and react as well as their values, attitudes, and biases.

3. Create buildable wins.

The good thing about changing consumer preferences is that you can use data to influence them more easily. If you can collect the right attitude and behavior information from your target consumers, you can use that to create a package that speaks to preferences they don’t even realize they have. Build your own wins by leveraging data to generate foresight.

Use the data you already have, taking into account context and changes in consumer attitudes, tastes, and preferences when you make target customer profiles. Then, you’ll be able to personalize your marketing approach and better connect with your ideal customers.

Diane Keng is the CEO and co-founder of Breinify, the leading plug and play AI platform for predicting and acting on customers’ highly dynamic interests. Diane was previously at Apple and Symantec. Diane ran three successful businesses before she was 18 and is a noted software innovator who frequently speaks on the intersection of AI, personal data, privacy and the future of smarter products. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, TechCrunch, OZY and Inc. Magazine.

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