What if all your customers got together and took a selfie?
That’s kind of what audience analysis powered by artificial intelligence is like. It gives you the most detailed picture of your consumers imaginable. Way beyond traditional demographics, you’ll see your prospects in ways that can transform your business: what they care about, how they make decisions, and so much more
A marketing campaign is a conversation. And the more you know about the person you’re speaking with, the better. Audience analysis helps you use data to understand your consumer at a whole new level. It’s an incredibly powerful way to improve your messaging, segment your target audience, and create engaging brand interactions.
There is a lot of precedent in this kind of research. Sometimes survey templates are used. Assumptions are made. And no matter how much they try to avoid it, a marketing team will have certain intuitive opinions that will affect how the audience is ultimately defined. Bottom line, current research is, to a large extent, the process of confirming or dispelling your idea of who your audience is. Odds are, that’s not the whole story. Your sample audience may have strong opinions, likes and dislikes that your research doesn’t address. Issues that you may not be thinking about at all could well be key motivators to your audience.
Audience Analysis and the Consumer Conversation
The Ultimate Reality Check.
People have a lot to say and they’re saying it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and more. It adds up to trillions of messages. What’s really remarkable about this body of information is that it has all been volunteered. It is unsolicited. Spontaneous. Not even remotely affected by any preconceptions your may have. It’s this gigantic conversation that on the surface seems unmanageable. But with the right tool, you can discover amazing threads of knowledge that make the picture of your audience clearer than ever. The right tool is artificial intelligence. It turns what looks like a chaotic dialog into insights that can transform your business.
Here are some friendly analogies that illustrate the difference between traditional research methods vs social audience analysis:
You get the idea. Knowing your consumers where they live is not a point A to point B situation. With audience analysis, information comes in layers. Unpredictable connections are made. Just as a chess player needs be able to see many moves into the future, you need to beat the competition to the next trend. In a blueprint, sure, you can see where the bedroom is but with a 3D walkthrough you might discover that you could make room for a fireplace. That’s a special kind of intelligence. Typically, there can be dramatic improvements in:
- Positive brand awareness
- Share of voice
- New product ideas
- Category insights
- Product pipeline issues
- The ability to spot new market opportunities
- Messaging that ‘sticks’
These and many more business advantages are only possible through the intelligent mining of social media. It’s what audience analysis is for and it is powerful.
Leading by examples
Let’s say you’re in the auto industry. Not that long ago, finding an audience of 34-49-year-old, female, college graduates, who commute to work by car was excellent work. In fact, a very good start for building or marketing a car. But the phrase ‘back-in-the-day’ does come to mind. Why? audience analysis changes everything.
Think about it. Instead of business decisions guided by basic demographics, focus groups, surveys and second-hand research, you now have the benefit of researching trillions of conversations. With audience analysis, your source material is real people talking to one another in a constant flow of likes and dislikes, lifestyle preferences and personal information. And you can tap into this immense sea of information to find out, in minute detail, what people are thinking: about your brand, your products, and the world they live in.
Keep in mind, this info is not gleaned from answering questions in a research setting. (An unrealistic experience at best.) You’re working with what people are actually saying, un-aided, unprompted, on their own time. The information is gathered after the conversation has taken place and is far more useful than typical survey results.
So back to the car example. The first thing that happens with audience analysis is that your basic demographic assumptions could be proven or disproven based on who is talking about your car and cars in general. Your knowledge of the car buyer is about to increase logarithmically. But take a look at the other questions that could be answered through audience analysis.
- What do people think of the new bronze/gold color?
- What time of day do they typically go to a showroom?
- Do people like to visit dealerships alone or with friends?
- Do people who buy cars shop at Costco?
- How do buyers feel about their current car?
- Is the new leather as comfortable as the old leather?
- Is the spokesperson trusted or just a pain?
- Do they like anything about your dealership?
- Which is the priority? College fund or new car?
With all of this information at hand, everyone at the marketing table has a lot more to work with. It’s the kind of information that inspires new thinking, new ways to communicate and new strategies.
Connecting the dots. Trillions of them.
The overall business objective of audience analysis is to achieve a deeper understanding of what compels consumers to support your brand or make a purchase. Simply put it’s the ability for marketers to ‘get-it’. As in, ‘I totally get my consumer’.
A large part of this advanced understanding has to do with what your consumers are like beyond their direct involvement with your product. By providing business with audience dimensions like demographics, geography and consumer interests audience analysis can be truly targeted.
Here are some examples:
(Example) If you make an SUV and in researching your consumers through audience analysis you discover that 57% of your buyers own dogs that weigh over 70 pounds, you may decide to make dog washing accessories a new option.
(Example) If you sell leather jackets and discover a geographical purchasing trend toward warmer climates, all of a sudden removable linings and roll up sleeves might be a good idea.
(Example) If you sell fitness trackers and find out that most buyers are at an age where their parents are still alive and thriving, a multi-unit family pack would be an excellent strategy.
So now we are talking about new products, expanding markets, and line extensions. The heart and soul of growing a business.
How to make the conversation make sense.
Consumer insights like these are now available because of two things. Start with the infinite number of messages, posts, and pictures that people have voluntarily shared with the world through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr (and complete the list). Second, artificial intelligence lets you query this massive database effectively. Using proprietary algorithms, these large-scale consumer conversations can be analyzed in virtually unlimited ways. And the bottom line for marketers? This is a never- existed-before resource of consumer information that can now be put to work by a never-existed-before technology.
Find out more. Here’s the next step.