What Do We Really Know About Consumers?
Consumers have changed, but the retail landscape may have changed even more. What can you assume about a nation of potential customers who constantly consider that?
That's probably not surprising to those of you who read Target Marketing or All About ROI, which often talk about the importance of testing and verifying assumptions about your audience. At heart, direct marketing is a numbers game, and those successful at it know what my football line coach used to sum up: to "assume" makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me."
But even extensive testing doesn't really take assumptions out of the equation. Who spends resources testing something they don't expect to work? When you try something new, where did the idea come from? Usually an assumption. So even with testing, there's a bias to test toward what we believe to be true. Adaptability is learning to recognize and react quickly when things we thought we knew turn out to be wrong.
So have consumers changed during this recession? Has that been the case for your customers? Are they acting against type, buying or not buying in ways that defied your expectations?