I know sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but as marketers we generally have a lot of data at our disposal. Lack of data isn't generally the problem. We tend to have piles of sales reports, focus group summaries, quant studies on new products -- you name it.
We have more data than I think we even realize.
The problem is not a lack of data, it's knowing what to do with it. The challenge is turning the data into something more actionable and usable, particularly when it comes to understanding our consumer.
The solution for me is to write a consumer profile. I talk quite a bit about the consumer profile in my book, and I even give a couple examples for a fictitious furniture brand. Consumer profiles are amazing because they can turn your data and your seemingly disjointed knowledge of your consumer into something real and concrete.
What's a consumer profile? It's simply a story about your consumer and her life. It's a story that where you weave the data points about her into a complete picture. It's a couple pages of written prose describing your consumer and her family, based on all the data you have compiled. It talks about how she spends her day, what she struggles with, and what she's concerned about. The consumer profile also includes tidbits of pop culture - like what entertainment she enjoys and how she spends time on the internet.
It's important to make your consumer profiles real - so give her a name and even a picture so that the whole exercise becomes tangible. You'll find yourself using your consumer profile a lot, as you evaluate new marketing programs and think through what will engage her.
Nate Riggs, social media extraordinaire, interviewed me on this very topic at a recent American Marketing Association conference. You can catch it here if you'd like.
What's your experience? Jim