Who is My Customer?
For many wine brands, answering this seemingly simple question can be rather daunting. And for good reason, the data sources required to shed light on wine consumers are fragmented, in short supply, or when they are available can often be limited in data coverage, i.e. breadth or depth across markets, geographies, or certain groups of consumers.
Adding to that, wine brands still need the resources to ingest multiple data sources, integrate them, and finally analyze all the data to paint a holistic picture of a brand’s specific group of wine consumers. It’s challenging under the best of circumstances and feels overwhelming and impossible under the worst of circumstances.
However, it’s no longer an optional part of being a successful wine brand (or any brand, regardless of industry). We’re in the customer experience era, which means customer experience is critically central to the future of any brand. One of the key findings from Gartner’s most recent Customer Experience in Marketing (CX) Survey is that 81% of companies surveyed say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX within two years’ time. CX is the opportunity to be the new differentiator for brands.
One of the first things any brand needs to do before identifying any CX changes or improvements is to understand the customer, what they want/need/expect. This begins with a standardized framework to help guide your consumer research and analysis. I call the framework an Audience Analysis, something developed in collaboration with my co-author while writing content for the book; Digital Marketing Analytics: Making Sense of Consumer Data in a Digital World.
What Is Audience Analysis?
Traditionally, audience analysis is the process that content creators use to determine the most important characteristics of the group(s) of people (their audience) they are trying to reach, in order to choose the best style, format, and level of appropriate information when preparing written content or speaking. Basically, it’s an approach to doing consumer research that will ensure that you are delivering value to your target audience.
When done to support marketing efforts, an Audience analysis involves several different research activities that reveal key information about what matters most to the audience you’re trying to reach, just like Google does. We’ve adopted this traditional concept because we believe there is so much potential for digital analytics to reveal audience insights and have made some adaptations to reflect the specific needs of profiling the modern day digital audience.
The term Audience itself can be used as an acronym for remembering this technique:
Analysis – Who is the audience?
Understanding – What is the audience’s knowledge and attitude toward the brand?
Demographics – What is the audience’s age, gender, education, location, and so on?
Interest – Why is the audience reading, sharing, and interacting with your brand content?
Environment – Where does the audience spend time online?
Needs – What are the audience needs associated with your brand, product, or service?
Customization – What personalization specific needs and/or interests attributes of the experience should the brand address in order to add value for the audience?
Expectations – What are both the stated and unstated expectations that the audience has for his/her interactions with your brand?
Many of these activities aren’t new to digital media; brands have been capturing some of these types of data and using them to target users for years in digital marketing and/or digital advertising programs. What’s new, and different, is the ability to go beyond basic demographic data and augment that data set with additional sources, by layering in psychographic, behavioral, and even user-interaction data based on social network activities.
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are a rich source of these data types. Facebook’s meteoric rise can largely be credited to the mountains of self-reported personal data its 2.2+ Billion users have provided to the company. Facebook may very well be the largest source in the world of consumer activity, interest, opinion, attitude, and values data, second only perhaps to Google’s goldmine of the global population’s searches that they only reveal to Google, and no one else.
The Audience analysis framework brings together several different types of digital analytics and research tools available to marketers that want to better understand their audiences and answer the question, ‘Who is my customer?’.
Audience Analysis For Wine Brands
Let’s dig into three examples of what it looks like when you begin to apply the Audience Analysis framework for wine brands.
There are many ways to get the demographics of your audience. One of the first places you can look to is your own website. If you’re using a modern web analytics tool such as Google Analytics (there is no reason you shouldn’t be, it’s free after all), you can configure it to also capture and associate demographic data with website visitors and behaviors.
This is incredibly powerful because it gives you the ability to segment visitor activity based on several demographic criteria; Gender, Age Range and Geography. With Google Analytics, it looks like this:
We can use a different data source to address the ‘Understanding’ piece of the Audience Analysis framework. Remember, here we’re trying to learn what the audience’s knowledge and attitudes toward the brand are. In this example, we’ll use behavioral data combined with qualitative data provided directly by wine consumers on the world’s best wine scanning app, Delectable. Through our partnership with Delectable, we can begin to piece together the understanding for how a wine brand’s audience sees that brand, what they think of that brand (ratings and reviews), and where they feel that brand sits amongst the crowded and competitive landscape of all wine brands.
When a consumer scans a wine label to learn about that brand & product, they usually scan other competitor brands close to it. For example, in the chart below we can see the ‘competitive set’, as consumers do by looking at all of the wine label scans for ‘Robert Mondavi’ Chardonnay and then ranking the volume of scans of competitive labels that occurred within the same scanning occasion (time period).
This is incredibly valuable because it gives the brand, in this case, Robert Mondavi, a view into how consumers see the market. This can vary, dramatically, from how the brand sees the market & competition. By developing an understanding of the consumer perspective, it gives wine brands an opportunity to align with their target audience. This positively benefits marketing, advertising, social media, content creation efforts, and distribution strategies.
Identifying the content consumption trends for your audience is critical. What are they choosing to spend their time and attention on? We can use many tools to analyze content engagement and understand the topics, trends, and sources of content that our audiences are engaging with, and without. One such tool that I highly recommend is Currents, from the people at Parse.ly
Currents is essentially a real-time look at content engagement by topic. The example below shows a comparison between content engagement on the topics of Chardonnay compared to Sauvignon Blanc.
As you can see there are noticeable differences between the two varietals when it comes to content engagement. Differences in:
- how people find content by topic (social media plays a bigger role for Chardonnay)
- Referral traffic from websites (Ex. Huffington Post is driving significant engagement for Sauvignon Blanc but none for Chardonnay)
- Search engines are used much more heavily by consumers engaging with Chardonnay content (32% versus 6%)
These are just a few examples, but as you go through the entire framework, you can gain a robust understanding of your audience and use that to inform the strategy, planning, and execution of your marketing, advertising, and content experiences. Differentiating and relevant CX is the path to success for wine brands!