Take a Lesson from Lego
What if you invested a percentage of your budget to ongoing research? After all, as a retailer, being successful has everything to do with what your customer wants, not you. It has everything to do with really getting into the head of your target prospects and delivering an experience fitting their needs. What if we learned to rectify our mistakes by seriously taking a look at current and valid (the key word here is valid) research and building your marketing initiatives around it? Think about the thousands upon thousands of dollars you spend each and every year. What actual analysis is this spending based on?
I read an interesting article not that long ago by Pam Danziger from Unity Marketing. It was about the Lego Corporation and the important lessons luxury could learn from this once-not-so-successful company. In 2003, Lego was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was faced with competition from video games, the Internet, and an old-fashioned image. Adding insult to injury, the company made a series of errors including expensive licensing arrangements with the likes of Star Wars and Harry Potter along with heavy investments in their own theme parks.
That’s when CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp took over (2004) and did something no one prior to him thought to do: He formed a research Future Lab to dig deeply into the mind of Lego’s consumer. This, of course, changed the focus of their marketing which led to their growth and enormous success today.
What if you did the same?
Broad-based (and valid) research is available by The Knot Wedding Network. I say broad-based because it may not be totally reflective of your customer. And although their data is from 14,000 brides and 1,750 grooms, February – March 2013 (new research should be released soon), and does represent a variety of ethnic, education and income levels, it stands to reason your customer may only represent one segment of this study. For example, you might have an older and far more affluent bridal customer. This research represents an average age of 27 with a Median Household Income of $55,000 and an engagement ring purchase of $5,400. Hardly affluent. For the sake of this article, let’s take a look at a few research items and the marketing initiatives which should be implemented to match.
Research: 64% of brides are involved in some way in the purchase, from hinting to being present when the ring was purchased.
Marketing: Your media needs to be targeted to women. Messaging and images should resonate with that female audience.
Research: The Internet is the most influential resource.
Marketing: Your website should be current, web responsive, robust with high-end photography and pricing. It should continually be updated, have informative information with copy reflecting your personality. You should be spending dollars in paid search to capture the traffic looking in your area. And, you should have a re-targeting program marketing to those people who have visited your site.
Research: Before getting engaged, the groom-to-be researches an average of 4.4 months and spends 3.4 months shopping for the ring.
Marketing: Since engagement rings are sold fairly consistently throughout the year (with a slight bump during the holidays), your bridal marketing needs to be as consistent as it can be all year long. A holiday- or Valentine’s-Day schedule alone will not cut it.
What you glean from a professional research study conducted in your market with your targeted customers could be a marketing game-changer. If you’re successful in business, you already allocate significant dollars year after year to your marketing. Very often, this marketing plan has very little change. People, on the other hand, are modifying how they shop, how they think, and how they interact with retailers.
Education has always been power. Truly understanding your customer with an investment in research will ultimately save you money in your marketing. It will become more focused with messaging that resonates. It also may surprise you. There is nothing more influential than knowing the needs of your customer. That’s true for retailers, manufacturers and designers, and suppliers like me.