Consumer Insights and Content Creation

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Whether or not you admit your HGTV, Food Network or Travel Channel obsession, Julie Link and Greg Stroud know exactly why you’re hooked: they’re the ones gathering consumer insights in order to make marketing decisions and create content. Their job is certainly no easy task.

At HGTV and DIY Network, Greg is the Former Vice-President of Programming Integration and Julie is the Director of Research and Consumer Insights. As they found out, when you’re company is not hitting its mark, sometimes a complete rebranding is necessary to fix the problem.

How do you go about rebranding? Simple – by watching trends, commercials and, most importantly, the target audience you are trying to reach.

In order to really connect with your consumers, Julie and Greg suggest “learning in the moment” and immersing yourself. By going “all in” among the audience you wish to reach, you’ll not only know your customers/viewers, but you will:

  • know their style,
  • give them a reason to participate and
  • have a story to tell.

Once you know your consumers and have developed a creative way to reach them, you must pitch your idea to your team. By getting your hands dirty so to speak, you will be able to develop materials that help your team better understand what your idea is all about. It will also allow you to present information in an innovative and engaging way that allows your team to actively participate in the creative process.

Julie and Greg suggest presenting information to your team as if you are presenting it to an external client. By making your target audience the driving force behind the campaign, and introducing an element of fun into the mix, your ideas will resonate with the team and satisfy your target audience.

Building the right kind of audience to attract national advertisers is also crucial, because a lot of companies make a majority of their money from advertising sales. This means watching trends and noticing consumer characteristics and patterns that correlate with these trends.

The question then becomes whether people are buying products in response to trends or are trends emerging in response to influencers in the market? As Julie and Greg point out, a trend is often not a material object but a popular idea that it represents. People become attached to brands/companies/products because of the ideals and experiences they represent.

Thus, perhaps the best consumer insights come from when you become part of the target audience you’re trying to reach.

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