Executive Briefings

Determining What Consumers Want Turns on More Than Demographics, Research Says

The conventional view is that consumers are fickle and inconsistent, hard to understand and predict, and therefore unmanageable. In fact, they are perfectly consistent, perfectly understandable, and quite predictable.

Determining What Consumers Want Turns on More Than Demographics, Research Says

The secret is to ask the right questions. Too often, companies do not understand this. They commission the wrong kind of research. They ask the wrong questions. They base their conclusions on syndicated data - historical purchases by category reported by Nielsen, IRI, NPD, Crest, and others.

They do this because they think, as most people do, that demographic factors - age, gender, income - hold the key to knowing what consumers want. These do play a part, of course. But the biggest determinant of customer choice is the occasion of use - that is, where the consumer is and with whom he or she is when using the product - and his or her emotional and functional needs at the time.

Consumers use products in different ways, depending on when they use them and whether they are on their own, with their friends, or with their family. So you need to ask: When do customers use the product? Whom are they with at the time? How do they want to feel? Which needs are current suppliers failing to fully fulfill?

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The secret is to ask the right questions. Too often, companies do not understand this. They commission the wrong kind of research. They ask the wrong questions. They base their conclusions on syndicated data - historical purchases by category reported by Nielsen, IRI, NPD, Crest, and others.

They do this because they think, as most people do, that demographic factors - age, gender, income - hold the key to knowing what consumers want. These do play a part, of course. But the biggest determinant of customer choice is the occasion of use - that is, where the consumer is and with whom he or she is when using the product - and his or her emotional and functional needs at the time.

Consumers use products in different ways, depending on when they use them and whether they are on their own, with their friends, or with their family. So you need to ask: When do customers use the product? Whom are they with at the time? How do they want to feel? Which needs are current suppliers failing to fully fulfill?

Read Full Article

Determining What Consumers Want Turns on More Than Demographics, Research Says