“They should have done their market research before airing this ad.” This is a typical dig by market researchers on social media who lambast the creators of tone-deaf ads. While they may have a point, and their quip is entertaining, this ribbing is a trend that needs to stop in 2020. It’s no longer funny, nor is it helpful. Not only are brands embarrassed, but the people in the ads and the communities they represent are hurt, and that’s not okay. Besides, many of those tone-deaf ads we are snickering about were actually steeped in market research, pre- and post-tested, but failed in their execution.
U.S. consumers are bracing for a polarizing year in politics. From impeachment proceedings to the presidential election, emotions are high, but unemployment is low, and that appears to be the economy’s saving grace as we head into 2020. Now in its fifth year, our annual consumer sentiment report, ThinkNow Pulse™, provides insight into how Americans feel about the state of the economy, its impact on their household income, and how the political climate influences their economic outlook. We compared this year’s data with past years and found interesting shifts in sentiment among key demographics.
As America marches steadily toward a majority-minority population, culture and authenticity will play larger roles in how products and services are developed and marketed. Authenticity influences culture, but data suggests that it is not a key driver of brand choice. However, more culturally resonant campaigns should be on your holiday wish list for 2020, as multicultural consumers are authors of some of the most prevailing trends in 2019. To help you prepare for the changes, we have identified some of those emerging trends that marketers need to be aware of
“As long as there have been campfires, humans have gathered around them and conveyed their view of the world through the use of stories.” Geoffrey Berwind nailed it. Storytelling has long since been hailed by content marketers as one of the most effective ways to capture the time and attention of prospects. Stories are powerful connectors. When told or written masterfully, they ignite the imagination and spark curiosity. But why are we talking about storytelling here in the context of market research? It’s simple. As it turns out, the way traditional market research has been reported for the last 50 years has been all wrong. That’s a bold statement, but sadly true. You’ve been there, trapped in a dim boardroom, eyes glazing over, walking through a presentation deck 100+ slides deep chock full of charts and graphs. The facts are reported, but you have to wonder just how much understanding clients walk away with.
This year was chock-full of defining moments. From ongoing trade disputes with China and political unrest, to legalized marijuana and online privacy concerns. In our final report of the year, 2019 Defining Moments: Insights Into Culture and Authenticity™, we highlight trends in consumer sentiment, purchase behavior, and digital media use, and explore the impact culture has on these trends. We’ve combined these insights into a brief narrative of Total Market consumer behavior over the last twelve months and marketing predictions for 2020.
In July of 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to allow the adult use of recreational marijuana. Its state legislature is the first to legalize selling the drug. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, for now. But that hasn’t stopped blue-chip consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies from exploring cannabis-based products as many believe that federal legalization in the U.S. is only a few votes away.
In a perfect world, we would have the best information available at our fingertips when making decisions. But, that’s often not the case. While information is more accessible now than at any other time in history, it’s not always the right information. Missing or bad information could mean big mistakes when developing or measuring marketing campaigns. So, to mitigate the risk of missing the mark, many companies explore custom market research. But, accurate, actionable custom research requires knowledge, experience, and dedicated personnel to complete.
Brand strategists are tasked with knowing when to include market research in the scope of agency work for clients and with pushing back on the inevitable biases that arise in the agency when collecting and analyzing that data. Cognitive biases, the collection of faulty ways of thinking hardwired into the human brain, permeate almost every aspect of our lives. From anchoring to zero-risk, humans live and work with various types of cognitive biases that can impair judgment and stall progress, both personally and professionally.
In this new age of social media, traditional market research has taken a beating. Influencers like serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) extol the importance of getting out and talking to their customers personally while countless memes of Steve Jobs’ quip against market research “customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them,” are shared endlessly online. To some extent, they have a point. Gary Vee’s “back to basics” approach of getting out in the real world and speaking to consumers makes sense. Technology has made it so easy to hide behind our screens that, just like the Wizard of Oz, we tell our customers what we want without giving them a chance to get to know the person behind the curtain. Nor can we get to know them.