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Tracx Prediction 2016: Brands Will Truly Learn to “Know thy Customer”

Social Data, Social Media Analytics, Social Media Listening, Social Media Marketing

Tracx Prediction 2016: Brands Will Truly Learn to “Know thy Customer”

“It’s not enough anymore to simply gather demographics on an audience; large brands are now in need of more detail, of psychographics.”


For years, marketers have traditionally segmented their markets by generation, and products and services were mass marketed, hoping to convince most buyers that they related to it somehow. As large brands are aware, today’s consumer is evolved, informed, vocal, and expects social engagement with brands of choice. They also group themselves in much smaller entities within each generation. In 2016, brands will come to adopt the practice of digging deeper into the minds of their customers. They will go beyond typical demographics, and delve into psychographics and lifestyle to fully understand what is valuable to each segment.

It’s not enough anymore to simply gather demographics on an audience; large brands are now in need of more detail, of psychographics. “Psychographics means interests, affinities, proclivities, biases, sexuality, occupation, education, intentions, politics, health, and thousands of other attributes. Targeting is explicit. Also, the ability to add in layers of financial qualification is critical. There’s no reason to market to users who won’t be able to afford your product or services,” reveals Founder and Evangelist of aimClear, Marty Weintraub.

Collecting psychographic data is time-consuming, but worth the effort. Although some social media management software can help the psychographic data collection process begin, and it can also offer lots of insight into how people live and why they buy certain products and services. Majority of collecting this data is manual and requires time, and next year, brands will devote more resources to the effort to enable marketing to target more precisely and effectively.

Learning about the consumer on a more profound level helps brands understand why consumers use specific products and services. Almost accidentally, Pedialyte – the children’s drink used to rehydrate the body – is now being widely used by adults to treat hangovers. Because of this discovery, Abbott Laboratories was able to shift its marketing strategy to target to an audience it couldn’t imagine would be using its product. According to the Wall Street Journal online, “Adult consumption of Pedialyte has grown almost 60% since 2012, and adults now make up more than one-third of Pedialyte’s sales, up from a historical average of 10% to 15%, saidHeather Mason, an executive vice president atAbbott Laboratories,the manufacturer.”


Social media users are responsible for this phenomenon. Because of the power of word-of-mouth, celebrities and college students across the nation have spread the message that Pedialyte is the cure for hangovers. Singer/music producer Pharrell Williams has been quoted by saying that he drinks it almost daily, and performer Miley Cyrus posted an image of herself with the product on Instagram; college students who are typically known to overdue it on the liquor, have all contributed to creating a new wave of the product’s use. Jim Porcarelli, Chief Strategy Officer at Active International advises that, “Brands shouldn’t completely abandon marketing aimed at their core demographic, but the social world can teach them a great deal about their core consumers…Consumers have forced advertising away from acquisition mode towards engagement. Social connections, and the way brands are perceived in these channels, have the power to either propel or ‘deep six’ a brand. Consumers use social media to share their experiences, whether good or bad. Advertisers need to listen to those conversations, even as they give consumers something positive to talk about.”

Through social listening and monitoring, as well as gathering and analyzing social data integrated with other data sets, brands will branch out in 2016 to learn a great deal about their customers and their product or service usage. Social data will inform decisions and shed light on how powerful social engagement has become. As opposed to allocating more advertising dollars, large brands will come to use social media as their go-to connection to consumers, not just for marketing purposes, but also for customer care, and R & D. Citing a Catalina study on consumer behavior, Direct Marketing News stated that 53% of a brand’s sales volume came from outside its demographic target. This shift in buying patterns will propel brands to drive messaging through social media in 2016. As a result, there will be an increase in purchase of social media monitoring platforms to gather data in real-time, informing these brands who, where, and most importantly, why – consumers are purchasing.

Social listening and engagement will become a norm for large brands to expand their audiences and not rely solely on demographics to dictate business direction. Because they will rely less on just demographics, and look into the psychology of purchasing, they will trade in their sales push for a social pull.

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