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Getting old-school on the new class

The consumer habits of Millennials are a hot topic in consulting circles these days. How do we understand what they want? 2017 presents us with a market reality where Millennials are growing in purchasing power over many of the decisions around consumer products and services, education, and assets. One of the central topics around Millennial purchases is the customization element. More immune to traditional mass communication, they are reached by digital-savvy brands that understand how to reach them with the right message, at the right time.

But keep in mind: everything from contracting projects and website hosting to glucose monitors and elder care are more than their algorithms. They are choices made by real people. Consider the tangle of modern business: a B2B firm works with an agency, then marketing choices are made around the customers of the firm’s customers. Whew! This is the reason it’s vital to check in with different levels of consumers. Along the chain of providers, much still hinges on understanding the realities of a person – the end user.

And so, we get to solutions. To truly understand them, there isn’t a better solution than looking directly at them and their data. Web traffic patterns tell us more about the modern customer than ever before, especially the digital native population. We humbly advocate going even deeper: probing a representative range of your customers on their sentiments.

Old school, I know. But professionally, intentionally moderated conversations get YOUR customer talking specifically about what is prominent in their world when your product or service makes itself useful.

Conversational experts fall back on a tried and true piece of advice – get people talking about themselves. With consumers, not only is this a very fruitful area for human insight, but it will help your business make sound decisions. In a 35 minute conversation, with appropriate disclosures and emotional rapport established, a moderator can extract the desires, values, criticisms, and aspirations of a firms’ current or potential users.

“Walk me through your own personal habits when it comes to choosing large appliances.”

“What does this brand do for you that isn’t the case with other brands of appliances?”

“If X brand of appliance were a person, what would they be like? Why those attributes?”

Our research team ends up hearing some of the most searing commentary about a customer service experience, but also the most glowing reviews of a brand’s voice and the firm’s reliability, for example.

Again, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that, among the web traffic, there are real people with rich stories about how your firm fit into their lives. And that’s worth researching.

By Sasha Fainberg

Analyst, SMARI Research

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