Marketing managers have difficult jobs. They are expected to be psychologists, storytellers, salespeople, and fortune tellers. Engineers and product developers don’t understand why their fantastic products aren’t selling and blame marketing for not communicating how terrific they are. Unfortunately, having the best product or solution is often not enough because consumers typically don’t make purchase decisions rationally. They do so emotionally.
Stay at home orders across the globe has had an immediate impact on consumers. Streaming times are at an all-time high, food delivery services are at max capacity, and almost all of us have become gamers. While it is true that immediate consumer behaviors have changed during stay at home orders, the real question marketers are grappling with as mandates are slowly lifted is if the disruption in purchase routine will affect consumer behavior long-term, and if so, how.
COVID-19 has completely disrupted our sense of normalcy. Collectively, we’ve hung our hopes on our ability to create a “new normal” post-COVID with some semblance of life before the outbreak. But, life during this pandemic is not normal, nor will it be in the months ahead. From industries to schools and everything in between, routines have been fractured, lives altered, and jobs lost. As a market researcher working in an industry that thrives on consumer interaction, I can speak best to what I’ve seen while navigating this space and how I think the market research industry will respond to the looming uncertainties ahead.
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In 2017, smart speakers sat on the counter-tops and coffee tables of just over 30% of U.S. consumers. Today, that number has jumped to nearly half according to our 2020 ThinkNow Voice-Controlled Products report brief, which is on par with earlier predictions that 55% of homes will have smart speakers by 2022. The most popular speakers, Amazon Alexa and Google Home, dwarf category competitors like Apple Homepod.
As the reality of being quarantined here on the west coast starts to settle in, we decided to process the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic as any good market researcher would – with research. ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey of 500 American adults during the week of March 6-11, 2020. The sample was stratified with respect to race/ethnicity, age, gender, and US region per Census benchmarks.
With the not so lofty goal of 1 billion viewers for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, this year’s tournament is poised to be the most exciting to date for a few reasons. France is still buzzing from a Men’s World Cup win in 2017, and the U.S. women’s team is still heavily favored to win this year. But it’s the off the field conversations about gender equality, or the lack thereof, that signal the importance of this year’s games and has helped drive interest to an all-time high. Surprisingly, we know little about who’s watching the games, however. It’s tempting to make assumptions here and just assume that it’s women, but our research tells a different story. We spoke to a nationally representative sample of over 1,200 respondents in the U.S. to help us define the persona of the typical FIFA Women’s World Cup viewer
Amplifying the voice of the multicultural consumer is at the heart of what we do at ThinkNow. Our research studies dig deeply into this multifaceted audience to uncover the cultural nuances that make them unique and the impact acculturation has had on immigrant communities. We believe in the power of this data, and often reach out to companies who have never interacted with us when the research impacts their business directly. A common objection we get from cold outreach calls is, “sorry, but we don’t do multicultural research.” That response stings. To say that you’re not willing to get to know over a quarter of the U.S. population is both offensive and tragic, because not only does it send a message that you don’t care, but it’s just bad business.
As a market research company with a robust multicultural practice, we’re often asked about how to market to Asian Americans. Often, clients have heard that Asian Americans are wealthier and better educated than other groups and they want to tap into these appealing consumers. However, when we walk them through the different country of origin groups and languages spoken, they’re often surprised by the variety and complexity within this market. One way to simplify the discussion is to look at shared cultural values and craft messages that can be adapted to various subgroups within the Asian American community.
“Milestones” were the hallmark of 2018 as consumers weathered the highs and lows of another eventful year in America. Snowboarding icon Shaun White shred major powder on the men’s halfpipe to earn America it’s 100th Winter Olympics Gold Medal. African-American girls, clad in their Sunday best, sipped tea to salute the first African-American woman to become British royalty. And most recently, the midterm elections, coined the “most expensive” and “most watched” captivated the country in an epic battle for congressional seats and equality. In our final report of the year, ThinkNow Snapshot: 2018 Total Market Markers & Milestones™, we highlight some of the major shifts in trends that impacted economic outlook, holiday spending, and digital media use.
MarTech companies have been focusing on incorporating datasets outside of traditional marketing data to create a more robust identity of a target consumer. With the rapid evolution of MarTech this past year with blockchain, AI and machine learning—what’s next? 2018 has been an exponential year of evolution for MarTech. Blockchain, AI, and machine learning have enabled MarTech to process and make sense of more data than ever before. On a high level, MarTech companies have been focusing on incorporating datasets outside of traditional marketing data to create a more robust identification of a target consumer from web, call centers, point of sale, social, television, and print.