And while there are plenty of complex (and expensive) approaches to increasing your outdoor brand’s consumer IQ, there are also a number of simple, effective and budget-friendly ways to learn more about what drives your customers and what they’re looking for from your brand. If your outdoor brand is seeking ways to better understand its target consumers and their top purchase motivators, here are four TBA Outdoors-recommended ways to take a deep dive into your customers’ psyche — all of which can be carried out with minimal investments of time and money:
1. Customer database analysis
For outdoor brands that go to great lengths to keep detailed records about their customers, including their demographic information, location, interests, contact details, past product purchases and searches, history of brand inquiries, etc., the ability to analyze this treasure trove of information is a big part of the payoff. This is because careful evaluation and assessment of all of these customer-focused details can lead to powerful insights about a brand’s consumers and what appeals to them.
Are certain products an especially big hit in certain parts of the country? Do certain age groups gravitate toward particular offerings? Have specific consumer-outreach efforts proven especially effective in the past? Answers to questions such as these can help your brand optimize its marketing messaging to be more effective, build upon past successes and, over time, increase sales.
Pro tip: Shopfluency is great tool for evaluating your outdoor brand’s first-party consumer data. It easily integrates with a number of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the market today, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento and BigCommerce. And by using it to carefully analyze our clients’ customer databases, we at TBA Outdoors have been able to uncover powerful, growth-driving insights that have substantially lowered cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS) for these clients.
2. Online surveying of customer database
To further ramp up the value of their first-party customer databases, outdoor brands can also leverage the contact information they contain to directly ask their consumers important questions via online surveys. By doing so, brands can harness some of the same insights they might collect via staging a focus group, all at a fraction of the cost.
How do customers perceive your outdoor brand? What attributes do they find most important when choosing which outdoor-geared solutions they’ll purchase? How can your brand improve upon its products and its customer service? What kinds of new offerings from your brand would they find most attractive?
Customer surveys can deliver answers to these questions and many more, all directly from the most important consumers out there — the ones who became paying customers for your outdoor brand. And their answers can deliver powerful insights that can help your brand attract more customers just like them.
Pro tip: Two of the most popular and easy-to-use tools for creating and sending online surveys — SurveyMonkey and Google Forms — both offer options that your outdoor brand can utilize free of charge. Each of the survey-creation platforms makes it easy to create your surveys and send them to your chosen recipients, and both offer a range of survey question and design options.
3. Observational research
For outdoor brands with brick-and-mortar storefronts or ones that otherwise get opportunities to meet face-to-face with their customers, spending in-person time with consumers can be an invaluable resource. By striking up candid conversations with customers, brands can get honest and unfiltered feedback on important-to-the-brand topics directly, not to mention get a chance to build strong personal connections with consumers via friendly banter and the sharing of brand- and segment-specific expertise.
Pro tip: Another effective way to shed light on what your customers’ brand-related behaviors and motivations are is to harness the observational data that Google Analytics can provide when integrated with your outdoor brand’s website. This powerful analytics tool can provide your outdoor brand with a range of actionable insights about your consumers’ product preferences, any potential issues with your brand’s website, the most popular pages on your site and more, all free of charge.
4. Social listening
Another way to get a good feel for consumer sentiment around your outdoor brand and its segment is to pay close attention to what people are saying about you and your niche on social media. You can do this by monitoring social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for mentions of your brand and product names, your competition and its products, and other major industry-related topics. And by doing so, your outdoor brand can tap into the latest consumer thoughts about all things related to your brand and its business. Your brand can use the insights gained to better understand your customers and the marketplace, quickly address any perceived problems with your products, build on any brand successes, stay ahead of industry trends and more.
Pro tip: To make social listening easier, monitoring tools from companies like Hootsuite and Sprout Social can be set to follow a range of social sites for mentions of your brand, its products, the competition and any other terms you choose to track. When such mentions are detected, the tools will alert you to the conversations so that you can check them out — and even join in if you feel that doing so is a good strategic move for your brand. The tools also provide analytics features that can help you make more sense of your brand mentions and determine which of your products and offerings may be trending among social media users.
Could your outdoor brand benefit from working with a team of marketing and consumer-research professionals to broaden its appeal — and ultimately boost its bottom line? At TBA Outdoors, we’ve helped a long list of outdoor clients grow their businesses by better understanding their customers’ desires and needs — and we’re eager to help yours do the same. Our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover all aspects of marketing — including SEO, brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed to put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.