FIRST THEY WERE FEW, NOW THEY ARE MANY

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Communicating with the public is a whole new kettle of fish in 2014. It demands a different way of thinking – one that requires marketers to completely immerse themselves into the world of the would-be customer if their campaigns are to generate any traction.

Gone are the days of being able to easily pigeon hole your target audience according to their consumer habits, job, age or marital status. Boring to still harp on about it, I know, but the recession is continuing to have an effect on Brits and it looks like many of us have changed for good.

A story in today’s Times discusses new

research by IGD, a retail research and training charity, which says brand loyalty has collapsed. Apparently, we’re promiscuous in our food buying habits and a typical grocery shopper visits four supermarkets a month. Further still, it’s starting to smack of years gone by when people trawled the high street collecting groceries from independent suppliers, with 47 per cent of us visiting more than one supermarket in a single trip this year. This is up five per cent since 2013, so it’s not a trend that shows any sign of abating.

When developing strategy for new and existing clients, we always have the end user firmly in mind. Which brands they consume, why they choose them and how they obtain them, helps to form the focal point of the rationale behind our recommendations. Research such as IGD’s report is vital to us as we’re constantly improving our understanding of modern consumption patterns to enable us to deliver campaigns that work. Creativity is a separate, although parallel topic, but I’d argue that spending time getting to understand buying habits is the key to any brand’s success.

However, marketers shouldn’t assume that everyone fits this new, frugal shopper identity.

While brand loyalty is all but extinct for most of us, for a minority it continues to determine every purchase. Even though there’s a lot of talk of snobbery disappearing as once die-hard Waitrose shoppers head, coupon in hand, to Aldi, we mustn’t assume it’s entirely dead.

One thing’s for sure, connecting meaningfully with the customer is a minefield.  But, with careful planning and up-to-the-minute research, we can successfully navigate the best way to reach them to produce effective campaigns that reach our clients’ target audience and affect their behaviour in just the way we want them to.