A Fresh Perspective on Focus Groups: Targeted Profiling

This article provides a creative way for marketers to view target users that can produce more insightful findings to distinguish brands. In addition, tools for marketing planning may be generated from this method for use in the future. Read this article to learn how this is done.

This article provides a creative way for marketers to view target users that can produce more insightful findings to distinguish brands. In addition, tools for marketing planning may be generated from this method for use in the future. Read this article to learn how this is done.

 

Was Penthouse The Brand or The Floor?

Breaking through the clutter is more difficult than ever as consumers are bombarded with ads from both traditional media such as TV, radio, and print, and non-traditional sources including online, cinema, product placement -- even elevators and washrooms. Creating name recognition can be daunting, and attaching a relevant and motivating “meaning” presents even more of a challenge. Advertising can certainly accomplish this, but starting with the basics is key – without an in-depth understanding of one’s target, much of this effort will be wasted and go unnoticed. Consumer target definitions that have served well in the past may not work in today’s more cut-throat environment where perceived “sameness” across brands often exists. Taking a deeper look into how your target is defined can provide a fresh perspective and differentiate your brand to stand out from the pack. The result is a more strategic advertising approach and more targeted marketing programs.

 

Divide & Conquer

Focus groups can play an important role in fine-tuning your target definition. But instead of traditional recruiting typically based on regular and lapsed users (along with the requisite target demographic and usage parameters), further partitioning these segments is key to breaking through to deeper insights and clarity. This could be based on usage attitudes such as anticipated future fast food restaurant visit frequency, or usage by specific purpose such as fast food patronage by daypart. Also helpful are attitude statements such as would not purchase an alternative brand and definitely intend to purchase brand in future to identify a “highly loyal” segment, and similarly for other segments such as “fence-sitters,” “unconvinced,” “hard-to-get,” etc. The more rigorous the refinement (within reason!), the greater the chances of uncovering fresh, actionable feedback.

By conducting separate focus groups with highly-defined segments, a more distinct picture of the target will emerge, along with more focused strategic insights to direct marketing efforts. Also delving further into attitudes, psychographics, and relevant behavior in the sessions lets us see who these users are as real people. This type of probing combined with the specificity of the group provide the opportunity to:

  • Explore consumers’ mindsets to get at more deep-seated emotions beyond the usual product and service attributes to better understand what underlies their purchase decisions
  • Understand the target based on their feelings, interests, and opinions, their needs and wants, with greater sensitivity to their point of view

 

A Strategic Matrix

Using this approach, a target user matrix can be developed to help guide marketing planning. Each segment would be identified by demographics, lifestyles, usage, and relevant attitudes, ultimately helping to pinpoint the highest potential groups for marketing purposes. Advertising and promotions can then be tailored to these specific target segments in a manner that is more likely to garner their attention, because they talk to their needs, speak their language, and are from their perspective.

Targeted Profiling is a highly useful tool in today’s competitive marketplace. It works because it starts with the basics – building a better connection with consumers by revealing who they truly are as individuals. And by doing so, it provides a way to help cut through the clutter with a message more apt to be perceived as relevant and motivating to them personally.

 

This article is from Strategy Matters, a periodic newsletter from MARAfriedman Brand Strategist, which covers brand strategy issues and associated research toolbox options. This and other newsletters of possible interest can be found at the company’s website: www.MARAstrategist.com.

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