“People don’t want to be sold a product, but they do want to buy something.” – Ann Handley, Brand Marketing panellist at SXSW 2018.


We expect brands to interact with us like humans. To understand us. To be there for us in the right moments.


In the last two days, I was served an average of 100 ads online and offline. A careful look at them will tell you that only five of them really spoke to me in my current need state and mind state. I am a 28-year old female who works 9-5 and prefers to break up my work day with coffee breaks, online shopping and going down a spiral of YouTube videos (kidding, all the dog videos are pre-loaded on my phone!).

If theiconic.com.au is investing in observing my habits, it would not have shown me that green dress at 9 PM, when I am just about to turn off my phone for some digital detox time. This is a result of inadequate or incorrect investment in consumer knowledge by the brand.

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: Companies miss out on almost 7% of their annual revenue by creating campaigns without investing enough in understanding their customer or market.

So, how does a consumer-centric approach help protect against this?

Reduced wastage

Consumer insights provide a nuanced understanding that helps us personalise our content and speak to customers directly.

Understanding how and why our audiences search in our category, how and when they interact with content, and how much time it takes between first click and final decision will set us up for a well-optimised targeting strategy across all our involved channels, from social amplification to performance campaigns.

For those of you in the Display or SEM space, AB testing is an invaluable form of consumer research. It can help you better understand audience lists and the keywords that work, while also validating programmatic results and insights and helping reveal opportunities for optimisation.

Better results and ROI

Knowing your customer and market also helps you identify group influencers and showcase how content is shared within networks. This can lead to more effective advocacy campaigns while enabling you to tap into quality audiences and the higher-quality leads they create.

Harnessing free resources like Facebook Audience Insights and Google Analytics, paired with paid customer data tools (e.g. Global Web Index) and social listening tools (e.g. Crimson Hexagon) furnishes you with extensive behavioural data that can then be used to optimise your content and targeting strategy.

These insights also reveal undiscovered gaps in the market, or pain points that your brand may be able to solve. This could mean ideas for new product development or creating and amplifying new forms of content on new channels (e.g. apps) that directly address customer concerns in the moment, thereby increasing overall user experience, engagement and receptiveness to content.

Knowledge is everything

As consumers, we spend a considerable amount of time in the “research” phase trying to learn everything we can about a brand that we’re about to invest in. So why is it that we, as marketers, don’t do the same?

There are tons of tools in market today that are widely accessible and contain a wealth of consumer behavioural data that are built to enhance our planning and intelligence arsenal for brands. If we want to stay in sync with consumers’ changing expectations, we need to apply the same principles as they do, and that all begins by knowing them and their media ecosystem.

As brands strive for better results, more efficient planning and greater transparency, it’s those who first uncover as much as they can about their market and audience before making investment decisions in content, media, or new product development that will see – and understand – the impact they’re having.


Divya Voleti

Divya Voleti is a Strategy Director at iProspect. In her current role, she drives consumer first thinking and works with clients to co-create customer engagement strategies. She is also one of our Innovation Champions, driving collaboration and client success using the widely recognised design thinking framework.