Posted 12 March 2015

The ‘Unknown Customer’– Secrets Revealed

Last week we discussed the challenges brands face when interacting with their unknown customers, and introduced you to our five core customer personas. Today, we’re digging a little deeper, to unveil the mysteries behind these ‘personas’.

As the gap between customers and companies narrows, customers have increasingly higher expectation of brands. One missed interaction can have disastrous consequences – consumers want to be contacted at the perfect moment, in the right place, and in a meaningful way. But an error in customer targeting could easily send them running into the open arms of competitors.

Brands are left trying to figure out how best to interact with a customer they know nothing about, without potentially running them off. This is no small feat; thankfully, you no longer have to do it blindly, as we’ve done the work for you by conducting an international survey of your unknown customers.

Through careful observation of shopping habits, we’ve discovered that although unknown, with the right data and insight, most customers can be linked to one of five typical buyer personas – that we’ve named the socialites, the perfectionists, the ain’t got timers, the impulsives, and last but not least, the panic buyers. With that said, nothing in the world of marketing is all black or white; some people will share characteristics from two or more ‘personas’. Here’s what our research found:

  1. The Socialites – The majority of unknown customers are socialites (38%), who like to compare and receive recommendations from various communities (online and offline) before making final purchasing decisions. This is no surprise, with 74% of online adults using social networking sites, it has never been easier to connect and share with people, anywhere, anytime.

Surprisingly, we all have a little socialite inside us – as 57% of respondents trust the Internet as their number one source of information used to make a purchase. While consumers have always shared opinions on brands, today, one bad experience leads to a bad review, which travels around the world in an instant. This can be enough to throw a negative veil on a brand’s reputation.

  1. The Perfectionists – Next are the perfectionists (36%), who have a perfectly clear idea of what they want and therefore conduct extensive research before purchasing anything. These customers are cautious, inflexible and hate to be disappointed. Perfectionists don’t make mistakes and likewise, are expecting brands to deliver on their promises at every single touchpoint of the customer journey.USA perfectionists
  1. The Ain’t Got Timers – With 21% of respondents identifying themselves as efficient shoppers, aiming at a smooth purchase, the ain’t got timers group is one to watch and learn from. Busy professionals and families will typically belong to this group. They value brands helping them to make the most of their time and offering them a seamless omni-channel customer experience. They will equally trust online reviews (45%) and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family (44%).USA aint got timers
  1. The Impulsives – Brands often play on the novelty effect, marketing to early adopters and trendsetters. However, our research shows that very few unknown customers value being the first to purchase a new product right after it’s launched. Only 3% of respondents describe themselves as impulsive buyers, and 31% of them admit to being mainly influenced by advertisements.USA impulsives
  1. The Panic Buyers – Does anyone actually prefer to buy under pressure? It’s no surprise that only 2% of respondents identified themselves as panic buyers; shoppers that think it’s best to leave everything to the last minute. Panic buyers don’t like to plan and by leaving it down to the wire, their choice opportunities decrease, leaving them with limited options.USA panic buyers

Supporting these findings, 80% of respondents said they were cautious buyers and only 20% described themselves as impulsive. There also seems to be a gap between genders, as women appear to be more impulsive (24%) and men more cautious (85%) than the average buyers. This could reveal that when it comes to purchasing, women may either be more confident in knowing what they want or don’t mind returning products, while men might need more time to make a decision or prefer to get it right the first time. 

In our next post, we will explore the significance of these findings in an omni-channel world, where marketing attribution and customer experience management are vital to the bottom line. We’ll also discuss how brands can learn to exploit the characteristics of these personas in order to map and improve the overall customer journey.

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