By Doreen Bloch
At Poshly, we create engaging and personalized data collection experiences to connect consumers to the products they love. For example, when consumers come to Poshly, they can enter to win products (Pat McGrath’s Phantom 002, anyone?) by answering fun and fast quizzes about their beauty needs and preferences. We then aggregate the data and make it completely anonymous, empowering brands to leverage these insights for decision-making across product development, sales, marketing, media, retail, content and more.
Since launching Poshly in 2012, we have collected more than 16,000,000 insights from half a million consumers who have discovered Poshly completely organically. It’s safe to say we are really good at making the consumer our best friend to understand all about her. Consumers share with us information about their dandruff, hair loss, acne, anti-aging solutions and more!
In 2016, data collection must no longer be a passive afterthought. Brands have to actively collect data through personal consumer experiences to improve decision-making. It all begins with engaging the consumer. Here are the 10 best practices we have found at Poshly to develop a personalized rapport with each consumer discovering your brand.
- Keep it contextual
We all know the experience of reading an article online or shopping for a product through e-commerce when, all of a sudden, a pesky pop-up survey or advertisement takes up the full screen! When trying to engage the consumer and learn more about her, don’t default to a user experience that interrupts the consumer’s behavior. Instead, think about the consumer journey engaging with your brand as if it was your friend interacting with your company. An example of a great data collection experience that is seamlessly with the consumer’s path to purchase is a “what product is best for me”-type of quiz directing the consumer to a particular set of SKUs. Not only is this a value-add and in-context for the consumer, it also enables the brand to learn more about the potential customer and store that valuable information for future use.
- Use a personal tone
Today’s consumers are bored by stodgy market research questions. When you want to really get to know the consumer, you have to speak their language! For example, on Poshly, when we ask the consumer what type of mobile phone they own, we give them response options like “Smartphone… duh!” and “Old school flip phone.” Colloquial and casual tone draws in the consumer, making them feel at home with your brand.
- Diversify the data
When it comes to really understanding your consumers, don’t stop at basic demographic questions like age and gender. Putting consumers in rigid and simple demographic buckets is passé. Instead, ask consumers to upload a photo of themselves, provide social media handles, and answer open-ended questions that give you a sense of their personalities! Collecting all types of information about the consumer will give you a 360-degree view of who they are, making the details of their lives jump out more fully for you and your brand.
- Define your goals
You must keep in mind your key performance indicators when developing a strategy to better understand your consumers. For example, are you focused on your most loyal customers? Or, do you want to focus more on new customer activations? Goal-setting with ensure that you are collecting the right type of data at the right time.
- Engage diverse stakeholders
As you are setting up your goals, make sure to bring different stakeholders to the table from your brand. Remember that a persona analysis for the marketing team could have great benefit for chemists in the product development department. Consider hosting a lunch & learn or brainstorming session; intra-brand conversions will spark new ideas for you as your whole brand rallies to put the consumer at the center.
- Remember data is living
Consumers are breathing, adaptable human beings, so don’t forget that their needs and preferences can change over time, especially when it comes to beauty and personal care! Changes might be motivated by life stage (getting married, having a baby, etc), or simply because of shifting tastes (interest in understanding ingredients, concerns over eco-friendliness, etc). Build into your consumer engagement plans to check in with the consumer quarterly or at least yearly so that you can learn how their routines and opinions might have changed.
- Verify and validate
Today’s consumers are more time-crunched than ever before. They might hastily tell you that they don’t use a bronzer every day, when they actually do… or that they don’t like a certain brand, when they actually like it. Come up with ways to validate the information you are collecting. For example, if you use Facebook Connect on your brand’s website, you can pull in the brand pages that a consumer has “liked” to see how that compares to the data you might have about them.
- Use statistics
Statistics are a critical tool kit when you are defining and refining ways to engage your consumers. Don’t be afraid to dive into an Excel spreadsheet to segment consumers and quantitatively explore what they want. It is profound how even simply data analysis can help you make better decisions for your brand across every category related to consumers, from ingredients to packaging.
- Respect the consumer
When you are collecting data about consumers, remember to respect them fully in both how and when you communicate with them. Consider their needs and feelings, just as you would with your best friends in life. Personalize the experience and communication as much as possible for each consumer, and take into account age and location when you are tailoring activities for your consumers. We have found that with greater respect comes greater response.
- Protect the data
Related to respecting the consumer, making sure that you have the technical features in place to protect the consumers’ data too. Privacy should never be a secondary consideration. For example, do you have a secure database behind a firewall for the consumer information your brand collects? Beyond credit card information, information like age, location, product preferences and physical attributes can be very sensitive so make sure that you have measures in place to protect this information. When consumers feel that their information is private, they will be more likely to confide in you, like they would in a diary.
Need real-time insights for your brand? Visit http://insights.poshly.com and request a demo of the first and only direct-access consumer insights platform in the beauty industry. Want to know other ways Poshly can support your brand? Check out http://poshly.com/brands/.
Doreen Bloch is the CEO & Founder of Poshly Inc., the consumer-centric data analytics company that empowers brands with real-time insights. Under her leadership, Poshly has raised more than $3M in VC funding and grown to more than 10 full-time team members in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Doreen has been recognized by Forbes and Inc. magazines as a “30 Under 30” entrepreneur, and she is a recipient of L’Oréal’s NEXT Generation Award.