Our marketing landscape has shifted from a media-centric to a consumer-centric reality. This is not just more marketing jargon from another planner – it is simply what has unfolded over the last decade – like it or not. So it’s no new news that consumers are in control – seeing only what they want to see and ignoring what is not acutely relevant to them. But have we actually evolved our planning approach to engineering holistic experiences against these new rules of engagement? I don’t think we have.
Not for a second am I excluding myself from this generalization. Just yesterday I embarrassed myself by assuming that the majority of consumers generally mix gin with either tonic, dry lemon or juice. Milk didn’t crack my consideration set. I didn’t consider questioning this assumption because I was under time pressure to deliver and so defaulted to my general understanding. A mental library compiled by my personal passage through measurable time and the exposure I have gleaned along 11 years of planning. So casually mixing gin with milk was never added to this library, but what I was really guilty of was projecting my assumptions across people I only meet through research.
Admit it, at some point in your career you have also leaped to conclusions about people who you don’t truly understand. Frankly, I believe anyone who proclaims to have this layered and nuanced cultural mixing pot we call the consumer landscape of Mzanzi figured out, is guilty of this. As marketers it is our business to better understand people. At Quirk we believe this understanding is more a commitment to learning than an acquisition of knowledge. This is where the Now Project (produced by the Consumer Insights Agency) is so powerful. The incredible tool codifies our complex landscape into a navigable map of 11 congruent and interrelated archetypes plotted across life stage and socioeconomic class. The biggest differentiator being its emphasis emotional drivers and psychologic motivators.
This year we have been privileged to partner with the CIA to deliver a digital layer to the 2014 release of the Now Project. This is not just another consumer study. Nor is it a report on how different archetypes behave online. Thanks to the plethora of papers available to our reporting obsessed industry it’s easy to find quantitative data for online behaviour. What people are doing is no secret. ‘Why’ people are doing what they are doing, and how this could potentially evolve is what we are after. Real experience planning demands that we look past the cookie trails users leave and understand the reasons why these trails manifest themselves in the ways they do. So where the Now Project provides a rich view on key human motivators, our addition to the study offers a straw-man of how these core human drivers will manifest themselves in digital connectivity, technology (or devices), capability and behaviour for each of the 11 archetypes.
It’s not science, it’s a point of view to build on. What is certain is professing that we’re all about the user and planning holistic experiences around them, without accepting to be a scholar of the people who these experiences are for makes no sense. We’re challenging ourselves to better understand people and this collaboration really assists us on this journey.
As our relationship with technology continues to converge and becomes more intuitive we will express ourselves more naturally through digital infrastructure. We want to contribute to driving this evolution by creating solutions that are more relevant. This pursuit of relevance demands of us to understand the vast separation between groups that could be defined by the same demographics. Big thanks to the wonderful people over at the CIA for bringing us a step further along this journey.
How are you better understanding why users are doing what they’re doing?