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Of Habits & Memories: The Real Humanity of Market Research

Market research often gets reduced to its jargon: targets, consumers, segments, and demographics. But at its heart, it is the study of humans, specifically the humans we are trying to reach with our marketing strategy.

Reducing people to a spreadsheet or stat or slogan never really cuts through to the core of what makes us tick. Human beings are complex and emotional. We like being differently alike. We crave the unique, but love the comfortable. We love and hate, laugh and cry, celebrate and complain. And while we change all the time, we’re also creatures of habit—which is the most important focus for any brand.

When you do something over and over again, like visiting the same store, you start to build memories there. The more positive memories people have with your brand, the more likely they are to shop it and share it. So at its core, market research helps build strategies centered on generating habits and making memories with people.

People have more choices than ever before in today’s market. The top way to fight against the competition is to grow your fan base by using your fans themselves to attract new fans. And the only way to do that is through market research—figuring out how they act, how they think, and what makes them become embedded with your brand.

I am a die-hard Notre Dame Fan. I’m not a fan because they are the most winning team in the past 30 years, but because of the traditions, the stories, the history that has been passed down through my culture and family. I feel like I am part of their brand. I cheer when they win, and cry when they lose. I will love them no matter their win-loss record. And you’d better believe that I’m raising another generation of Notre Dame fans, too.

My point is this: once you get past the jargon of market research, you discover some basic human truths that help us market to specific individuals—who will likely choose to be a part of your brand—using positive experiences. Then they’ll build habits and create memories that will, in turn, create more and more fans.

So if you want to build a Notre Dame-level fan base, start with the human side of market research.

Becki Woodbury | Mar 2, 2017