Closer to the heart: Using analytics to better understand customers

From time to time, I've spoken with marketers about how they're using data analytics, often finding they're leveraging the technology to "find stronger leads" for their sales departments. 

While there's nothing necessarily wrong with this approach, these professionals are neglecting an entire facet of marketing that doesn't get as much attention as it should: brand positioning. 

Using emotions to develop brands 
When a person recognizes a company name, there's typically an emotion associated with it. Branding professionals devise logos, names, copy and marketing campaigns to inspire particular sentiments among target audiences. However, marketers are selecting the feelings they're trying to evoke based on what certain people (i.e. those they're trying to sell services or products to) want from particular companies. Consider the these two examples:

  • A company providing enterprise resource planning software should use light blues and soft text font to incite placidness among procurement leaders.
  • A private security firm based in the United States could leverage black, which is associated with stability, vigor and resolve, according to Small Business Trends. 

But, I digress, where does analytics come into the picture? Sentiment analysis can provide more accurate intelligence show how certain market segments respond to colors, images and fonts.

Data visualization: A flexible research tool 
For the sake of this blog, let's determine how the private security firm mentioned above would use data analysis software to understand the needs and sentiments of its three target audiences: celebrities, politicians and logistics companies.

In order to receive accurate market segment profiles, the protection company must direct its data collection tools to the appropriate sources. How are these sources identified? By asking precise questions about the market segments the organization is looking to appeal to, such as:

  • Which parts of the world do logistics providers encounter the highest risk of falling victim to piracy?
  • How often is the average celebrity musician harassed after a performance? What does the harassment typically consist of? 
  • How many people does the average Senator have in his or her entourage?

To find an answer to the first question, the security firm should aggregate data from institutions studying criminal behavior or terrorism. Geographic data will show the "hot spots" where distributors are most likely to be hijacked, and information provided by government bodies would give security firms and idea of which criminal or terrorist organization pose the greatest threat to ocean liners, transnational logistics firms and other such companies. 

Learning from the two angles 
While sentiment analysis will show how people respond to certain designs, market research provides professionals with a clear idea of what kind of services people are looking for. When the knowledge attained from these two facets are integrated together, marketing campaigns can be polished to support emotionally relevant brands.