To profile audiences with accuracy, you need data that uncovers the all-important details that drive commercial actions. 

For agencies, relying on behavioral analytics from clients, or data gathered on competitors is useful, but it doesn’t take into account key influential factors present in the lives of consumers.

Here we explain why profiling your audience requires deep consumer data, and why the data you need to achieve this is more accessible than you think.

A common misconception

A key aim for agencies is to understand their clients’ audiences better. 

The temptation is to immediately look towards sources with consumer data on the brand in question to reveal insights.

Brand data of this kind is invaluable, but we first need to take it back a step.

To unlock audience insights, start by looking closely at the consumer. The brand comes later.

A full taxonomy of behavioral, psychographic and motivational data points in your toolbox will provide you with the detail you need to truly know who they are.

What deep consumer data allows you to do

1. Back up your hunches.

Clients usually (think they) have a strong feel for their core audiences – at least from a demographic and behavioral perspective.

Using this as a solid foundation from which to build out audiences, it’s possible to validate any hunches with survey data, enabling you to build your audience segments around truth, not speculation.

2. Identify ‘unknown’ areas of opportunity.

In such a changeable consumer landscape, audience profiling is never fully complete. 

Consumer data that’s updated regularly also reveals new areas to investigate and helps you identify uncharted audiences that will engage with your brand. 

3. Apply your audience across thousands of scenarios.

Once you’ve gathered the requisite detail on your audience, then you can layer them over thousands of data points. 

Effectively, you’re able to ask your audience almost anything, including their lifestyle choices, self reflections and how they behave in certain situations. 

Building this information into your personas offers the extra layer of detail needed to go beyond the behavioral, and unveil what drives specific actions.

Steps to understanding consumer behavior

1. Media consumption

Discover how and where they consume content including: 

  • Devices they use
  • Favorite websites
  • How they discover new brands
  • How they research products and services

2. Social media activities

Uncover the most popular platforms, along with why and how they’re used:

  • Their main reasons for using particular channels
  • How long they’re on the platforms each day
  • Who and what they follow
  • How they research new products

3. Purchase journey

Know how, why and where they’re looking for information on your brand, so you can give them exactly what they’re after:

  • What they want from every stage
  • Awareness drivers
  • Purchase drivers
  • Content that encourages engagement

Weave in attitudinal data

Combining attitudinal and behavioral data helps you fill in the gaps in your audience understanding. Ask key questions around your audience’s lifestyles, interests and perceptions to get the best answers. 

Here are four areas of psychographic discovery, along with a small sample of the thousands of questions you might ask: 

Motivations:

What drives them in day-to-day life? Money? Family? Career? Philanthropy? 

Perceptions and self-perceptions:

Discover their opinions on anything from family life to worldwide phenomenon, but also see how they would describe themselves. Are they outgoing? Forward-thinking? Organized? Sociable? 

Values: 

Do they seek value for money? Or would they prefer to buy cheaper? Do they seek respect from their peers through product purchases? Do they seek pleasure over security?

Lifestyle choices and interests:

Do they drive a car? Eat fast food? Eat out regularly? Take frequent holidays abroad? Are they cosmopolitan?  

Case study: How one agency got to know their client’s audience 

First & First is a consultancy that puts data at its core. The team does this to help brands and agencies bridge the gap between analytics and strategy, ultimately driving new business. 

When faced with the task of launching a new product for a client, they focused in on the consumer first and foremost.

Filling in the gaps.

“Our agency partners were pitching a CPG company to help them launch a new personal care brand,” says Devon Zdatny, CEO of First & First Consulting. “We were tasked with providing a recommendation on who their target audience should be, offering insights into who they are and what they care about.”

With little information about the brand beyond the three core pillars it centered itself around, to do this pitch justice, they needed more: 

“We leveraged GlobalWebIndex to uncover which consumers would care about these pillars. 

This helped us pinpoint and define our target audience.”

Matching the right brand with the right audience.

The first thing they did was to gather insights into the consumers they should be targeting. 

Using the wealth of survey data available to them, they could identify, analyze and profile each target group using over 40,000 data points. 

This meant not only delving into their demographics and behaviors, but their attitudes, perceptions and world views.

Here’s how they did it:

  1. They built an audience that met the criteria associated with the three pillars of ‘eco-friendliness’, ‘social-first distribution’ and ‘healthy living’.
  2. They analysed the audience demographics in order to shape the target profile.
  3. They constructed a target audience that balanced scalability with precision. Specifically around single, college educated women aged 18 – 34 who value brands that do social good.

To build out their audience understanding, First & First focused on revealing the attitudes and perceptions of their newly identified audience.

Here’s what they found: 

  1. They’re 85% more likely than the average consumer to strongly agree that they’re interested in other countries and cultures.
  2. They’re 192% more likely to describe their sexual orientation as “other”.
  3. They’re 35% more likely to advocate for brands that they have a personal, one-to-one relationship with.
  4. They’re 41% more likely to strongly agree that they always strive the achieve more in life. But are 32% more likely to disagree that money is the best measure of success. 

Connecting with the core of their audience:

The team found that in order for a brand to get its message across to this cohort, it needs to tell its story in an educational, enriching and nonconformative way.

As intelligent and brand purpose-conscious consumers, this audience require the details of the brand and its products to be granular. Also, in order to buy into a brand long-term, they need to align with their values and admire their approach.

Telling a winning story.

The agency won the pitch and as part of the kickoff and hired First & First to conduct a segmentation study, heavily relying on GlobalWebIndex data. 

“GlobalWebIndex has been core to our continuous efforts to streamline the path to insights,” says Devon.

“The ability to pull such compelling data in ever-tightening timelines has been vital in helping many of our agency clients win pitches.”

Starting with the consumer

In the end, it all comes down to context.

The more you know about your audience, the more you’ll understand about their decisions to take certain actions. 

Looking solely towards how consumers perceive a particular brand leaves too many unanswered questions. 

And while it provides invaluable information specific into a company, without a solid understanding of who these consumers are and what influences their choices in daily life, the value of brand data is reduced. 

So it’s about knowing who your audiences are, and how best to reach them, which is all made possible by the data at your fingertips. 

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