Understanding your customers’ changing values
While it’s natural for people’s values to evolve, pandemic-related stress and anxiety have been a catalyst for more rapid change. We can already see values shifting across the broader U.S. population. Brands will want to keep up with these changing values and attitudes to continue their connection with and appeal to their target audiences. Strategic market research is necessary to understand how specific consumer segments will be affected.
We’re in a tumultuous time. Unemployment has spiked and is now receding, but reports suggest U.S. employment levels won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 This has put a financial strain on many consumers who, as a result, will increasingly value affordability and convenience. Due to stay-at-home orders, we’ve increased social isolation and there’s a growing sense of public empathy which will cause many consumers to value community more than ever. They’ll be looking for brands committed to making an impact on social welfare and community health.
Brands looking to build relationships with these groups will need to find ways to increase their production footprint within the U.S.
So, how can your company determine your customers’ changing values?
Market research can shed some light by engaging with your target audience and digging deeper to find what’s driving them.
Five changes to watch
Here are a few customer value changes that are a direct result of the pandemic.
- Shift to shopping online: Staying indoors has naturally increased the need for online shopping, and we have seen rapid changes in behavior that would have otherwise taken years. In the U.S., consumers spent $211.5 billion on e-commerce during the second quarter of 2020, up 31.8% quarter-over-quarter, according to the study.
- Spending more time on leisure activities: Behaviors have notably changed, whether we look at the amount of time people are spending on self-care, mental health, and physical wellness, or the time spent watching television at home.
- Shift in spending habits: Behavioral changes are leading to a shift in spending habits as people are spending more on experiences and less on material things. And with the closures of spas and salons, purchases of self-care items have also been on the rise
- Value-based purchasing: The instability of jobs, fear, and stress brought on by COVID-19 – and people stocking essentials at home – has put more focus on value-based purchasing.
- Home as the new hub: In 2020 (and likely beyond), home meant so much more than before. It’s now our school, gym, office, restaurant, and our refuge from the stressors of the world. Consumers will be looking at brands that support a multifunctional home where people want to spend time enjoying the comforts of that space.
Let the market research lead
While these shifts are coming to fruition for some consumer segments, it’s important to analyze your target audience and identify the common values most likely to influence their attitudes and behaviors.
Always make sure you stay involved with your customers so you can change your target audience definition as needed. Test your product against todays’ target audience:
- Does it still address the needs of your target market?
- Does it solve their problems today as well as it did a year ago?
- What are todays’ particular points of interest or current pain points?
- Is the benefit from using your product or service still relevant?
It is necessary that your strategic marketing campaign reaches, connects, and inspires your audience to take action. Identifying and analyzing the wants and needs of your audience can help in a variety of marketing areas from advertising to branding. As a result, you’ll be able to:
- Create branding that connects on an emotional level.
- Write content that is valuable and beneficial to your audience.
- Build a website designed to serve visitor needs.
- Place ads where you know your audience will be.
- Provide the information your audience is looking for in sales materials.
- Increase conversions and sales due to all the items above.
Conducting quick-turn and strategic research on how those values are evolving can uncover insights to inform critical developments to your brand. Now is the time to analyze your target audiences’ changing value sets.