Importance of Understanding Your Consumer


When working with a new client, one of the first questions we routinely ask is, “Who is your target consumer?” We work with small and large companies that have varying degrees of consumer understanding. Some brand owners have great consumer insights while others either honestly don’t know who to target or will say they are targeting as many people as possible who would buy the product. 

For those clients who have yet to define their target, we explain the importance of identifying the ideal consumer for their brand and how it is central to their entire brand strategy. 

Consider some of the top brands today. What do they all have in common? Whether it is Nike, Apple, Chanel, or Dollar Shave Club, they each target different types of consumers and have a deep understanding of their target consumers’ needs, wants and pain points.   

For example, Dollar Shave Club is a witty, approachable, and playful brand that pokes fun at the relatable issues consumers face when buying razors. Prior to Dollar Shave Club, most consumers seemed content with the existing razor brand offerings, but the brand uncovered some insights that led to their breakthrough growth. 

They realized consumers struggled with things like the security packaging that you need to take to the cashier to release from bondage, or the dreaded clamshell packaging that feels nearly impossible to open, or the overly-testosterone-charged branding, or quite simply the high prices for a need consumers consider to be quite basic. Dollar Shave Club identified and tapped into a set of consumers that were simply looking to buy good quality, low-cost, no-fuss razors and not take themselves too seriously. 

Dollar Shave Club built a tribe of people that share the same mindset, sense of humor, need for comfort and a love for the brand. We will dive into the importance of building your tribe in a future blog post but, for the moment, just know that building a tribe of consumers who share the same values, passions, and loyalty to your brand and are willing to share and tell others about it can help expand your brand’s reach and foster lasting loyalty. This is the beauty of smart consumer targeting.

So, how do you define the target consumer for your brand?

  1. Research the category you compete in
    • What types of consumers currently shop your category?
    • What are the needs, wants, and pain points that your brand could solve for?
    • Is there a void in consumers’ lives that your brand can fill?
  2. Create a consumer profile
    • Focus in on those consumers who would be most likely to buy your product and identify their key demographic characteristics, psychographics and behaviors.
    • See below for a chart to help you segment the key facts you’ll want to gather.
    • Try to get as much information as you can on how your consumer thinks, how they live and what is important to them.
    • Lastly, try to uncover insights into their shopping and product usage behaviors. Where do they buy? How often do they buy? How do they use the product? During what occasions?
  3. Analyze your consumer profile
    • Assess all of the data points you have collected and identify any common characteristics your consumers share.
    • Zero in on those specific insights that will help you unlock a growth opportunity.
  4. Research/Testing
    • There are several ways to validate your assessment including one-on-one interviews, focus groups, online surveys, secondary market research, and more.
    • Adjust your consumer profile based on your research findings.

Once you have completed your consumer profile you can build your entire brand around meeting the needs of your target. Be vigilant of consumer response and be prepared to make changes as needed to optimize your plan. As long as you stay focused on delivering on your consumers’ expectations, your business should succeed. 

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