Understanding Consumers Through Their Eyes

We live in an on-demand, 24/7/365 culture. This new reality underscores the critical importance for marketers and executives to tap into a holistic, in-the-moment understanding of consumer experiences and perspectives.

Market research has traditionally been based on consumer recall of an event, at a point in time after it occurs, or on verbal affirmation of preferences and attitudes. Now, however, in-the-moment insights are possible due to the proliferation of smart phones, big data and social media monitoring systems.  Videos and pictures taken by the consumer, for instance, allow us to see and hear what they are doing and experiencing throughout the purchase journey — adding depth, color and context to how they view and engage with brands.

There is no better way to illustrate this paradigm shift than by revisiting the recent United Airlines’ scandal. Firsthand traveler experiences, captured and shared in-the-moment via social media, generated a crisis that has severely damaged the brand and has permanently altered airline protocol regarding passenger overbookings. While the PR hit would have been exponentially less damaging had this occurred a decade ago, our new reality in the smart phone/social media era provides extraordinary insight for brands. Smart phones now capture and reveal the raw emotion of events, giving companies a better opportunity to respond more effectively to any situation.

While this is an extreme example, it shows the power of receiving an unvarnished, firsthand perspective from customers. If you want to get ahead of possible problems or, better yet, solve problems to make your customers’ lives better (and, as a result, your brand more successful), then you should be thinking about how to take advantage of these techniques today.

Videos and pictures taken by the consumer, for instance, allow us to see and hear what they are doing and experiencing throughout the purchase journey — adding depth, color and context to how they view and engage with brands.”

There are several options for helping you see the world through the customer’s eyes:

  • GPS-assisted, mobile research allows you to intercept real consumers in the moment of making a decision or having an experience – thus quantifying tangible and emotional triggers that drive choices.
  • Mobile ethnography and cam-based research allows you to see what the customer is experiencing physically and emotionally as they perform specific tasks.
  • Utilizing web-cam video in place of typed open-ended responses allows customers to share views on what is important and what is behind the answers they’re giving.

These all lead to a clear, unobstructed view of the world — through the eyes of the customer. The result is your ability to build better experiences and solutions with the consumer perspective front and center.

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