How well do you know your audience?

Alex Banham
Marketing Executive

Did you know that people who own dogs are more likely to vote Conservative? And gin drinkers are less likely to agree to your requests? Small slices of insights into individual behaviours and personalities may be able to tell you more about your audience than you think.

At the start of July, we welcomed fellow industry experts and leaders to our Know Your Audience Better event. Many of us already have a basic understanding of the importance of personality on behaviour and decision making, but how can we use behavioural psychology to better understand our audiences?

We invited behavioural science experts Capuchin to share insights as to how brands can better understand their customers, before our panel of brand and industry experts explored how we can translate these insights and data into meaningful digital experiences for our customers. Below, we explore some of our key takeaways from the event.


1. Nudges didn't die with MSN.

Most of us remember the jarring, window-shaking animation when a friend nudged us on MSN, immediately grabbing our attention and pulling us back into a conversation that we’d ignored for a little too long.

If you’re trying to grab the attention of your customers and help them through their journey, a loud noise and a vibrating page would probably be the quickest way to get them to click away from your website. This is where behavioural psychology ‘nudges’ come in. Rather than digitally shaking your audience to maintain their attention, you can nudge them with messages of positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion to help them reach a desired outcome.

Look at Ticketmaster’s virtual queue. Watching the small walking man animation cross your screen can be increasingly frustrating, which is why Ticketmaster’s messaging utilises several nudges to keep you on the page while you wait to buy tickets.

By showing you that “2,000+ people in front of you”, Ticketmaster are relying on social proof to demonstrate large demand and reinforce that you’re engaged in popular behaviour. When that message then swaps to “You’re up next!” Ticketmaster is actually tapping into social status needs and rewarding commitment, encouraging you to put up with the final few minutes of waiting by reassuring that you’re now at the top of the queue.


2. But it's not one size fits all...

There’s no ‘golden’ nudge that will drive everyone down the purchasing journey and some nudges work better among some groups than others. Some people respond well to Ticketmaster’s commitment nudge, others may see how many people are in the queue before them and leave the page with the belief that there’s no point in attempting to get tickets. You should be prepared to diversify your nudges and consider which your target audience responds to best.

People like relevant messages and experiences that are tailored to their individual needs, speak their language and resonate with how they process information.

Let’s revisit gin drinkers, who according to Capuchin are less agreeable, and bitter drink enjoyers are reportedly more likely to present ‘malevolent’ personality traits. It may be why when notably charismatic and charming Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds started his own gin brand, he opted to be interviewed by his considerably less tolerable and more aggravating ‘twin brother’ Gordon and ignited an advertising feud with Hugh Jackman, associating the drink with less agreeable spokespeople in order to promote the product.

It isn’t just Reynolds making this link either. In 2015, Gordons London Dry Gin also opted for a less agreeable brand ambassador when they decided to poke fun at the reputation of their own drink with Philip Glenister.

There are, of course, still ways to utilise resonant nudges when you don’t have Hollywood powerhouses available to narrate your customer journey. But how do you figure out which ones your audience are more likely to respond to?


3. Adopt a test and learn mindset

Another pertinent topic discussed was the power of experimentation. Claire Andrews, Marketing Director at Ohme, shared her experience of adopting a test and learn mindset and the benefits of this in keeping up with changing customers demands in the highly dynamic and fast moving electric vehicle sector.

We’ve seen great value through the optimisation programmes we run for our clients to prioritise the actions that will have the greatest impact on their business and customers. By tweaking seemingly small elements of their digital products – be that imagery, copy, CTAs, page layouts - and running experiments to see which variant performs best – we’ve seen vast improvements in marketing effectiveness and helped our clients to build business cases for ongoing optimisation.

Technology can play an important role in enabling this. For instance, at Candyspace we use the customer analytics tool Contentsquare to highlight how different content affects online revenue from average order size to conversion rate, and use advanced experimentation tools such as Optimizely to test different elements and automatically prioritise the best performing variant.


4. Customer-centricity is the responsibility of the entire organisation

So we know that bitter feuds with an imaginary twin brother and snarky comments at garden parties can be an effective way to nudge customers into checking out gin brands, but don’t go demanding your marketing department try to budget Ryan Reynolds into your new business strategy just yet. Kathryn Giblin, Marketing Strategist at Kadence Marketing Solutions, discussed that customer-centricity is the responsibility of the entire organisation, not just the responsibility of marketing, and should be firmly embedded in your company culture.

The team across your entire organisation can utilise data in different ways, so it’s important to democratise the data available to everyone and ensure that they all understand it in order to contribute to how to best improve business results. By opening this line of communication between your teams, your customer-centric approach can become more cohesive, allowing all your clients touch points to be consistent with the experience you’re trying to deliver.


5. Don't forget the human behind the data point.

As helpful as the data you collect on your customers can be, it’s important to remember that they’re human too, with their own pain points and concerns. For example, if you notice customers are progressing through your product pages but dropping off at the payment stage of the journey, it may be worth considering what concerns they may have that are causing them to abandon their purchase.

You’re advertising to a human being rather than a piece of data, and with many of our interactions with customers moving online it’s important to consider how you can gain information on their pain points and needs without having the traditional, face-to-face interaction you’d gain in a physical store. Gianfranco Cuzziol, Group Head of CRM and Personalisation at Natura & Co Group, highlighted the importance of considering your customers' journey as a whole rather than a single purchase to answer the questions: Why are they coming to you? Where have they come from? What interaction are you offering that’s higher value than your competitors?

Remember to consider your customer’s pain points, needs and wants at different stages of their journey, and then decide what technology and data you can use to address these concerns, rather than adjusting your data points to your technology. There is no silver bullet that will fix all the issues you have, and your technology should work for you rather than you working for the technology.


So how can we become more customer-centric?

The first step we’d recommend is to define what we call at Candyspace the ‘sweetspot’ - this is the golden spot where customer needs perfectly align with your business objectives. The best way to understand what your customers really want from your business is to undergo user testing with your customers to validate new features and products to ensure you’re building the right thing for the right reasons. At this stage, we combine human insights with data and technology to deliver the experience your customers really want from you, every time. If you’re not sure where to begin, why not sign up for a free experience workshop where we’ll uncover a series of quick wins to rapidly enhance your digital customer experience.