“Huddled together in the M.D’s office, Zak Edwards asked us the question that we should all really know by now. “Who is our audience?” Every company should have this answer, right? Well we have a good idea of our main customer demographic, but that really isn’t enough. So our marketing team got together and through different methods of research, tried to get an understanding into the lives of our customers. We started off with these questions:
- Are you male or female?
- How old are you?
- Where are you from?
But why do we want to know this? Knowing who our audience is enables us to produce more awesome content, run better competitions and stock products awesome products that our users want!”
With the forever-growing social media platforms that Prezzybox use to engage with our users, we have realised that we cannot we have realised that we cannot rely on these to give an accurate representation of our customer base. So, we decided that over the next few days and even weeks, our team here at Prezzybox Q would conduct a research campaign to find out who you are!
Through analysis of readership profiles, our newsletter database, various social media platforms and by simply asking our customers for the answer, have we finally found you? Find out here....
How could we do it?
Figuring how to combine information from a variety sources seemed like a simple task. We know we can analyse the different social media sites through various different programs - that’s easy, right? But how do we reach out to those not on social media? What about those not on our database at all? After several meetings with ideas being bounced off and around the walls of Prezzybox HQ, we finally made a plan to help us find out the best way to get what we need. Firstly, we needed several different research methods.
What is the best way for us to do it?
Brainstorm time. Firstly, which teams at Prezzybox can we utilise? That’s right, everybody in the business can do their bit to help, and each and every member of staff can tackle the problem from their own angle. So our first plan put into action was to delegate.
We created a template allowing us all to know exactly what our responsibilities were so we could start to figure out what this data could give us and figure out how we were going to analyse it. By avoiding the entire focus to lie on social media, we ensured that we had data coming in from a variety of sources. So on top of social media analysis, we incorporated telephone enquiries to determine gender, postcode reports from online purchases, newsletter survey responses, and the old fashioned honest approach – directly asking for the answer.
What do we already know?
Research from previous online surveys has already provided us with information about our customers, but what was wrong with it?
Online surveys research, although provides us with a good idea about who this type of customer is, this is only based on those who are on our database, thus highlighting the previously mentioned problem of only focusing on one area of research. So yes, we can make certain conclusions from online survey; gender, age, occupation and income.
Is this what we want to know?
Now this is the information that we need - but we need it from as many sources as possible. Besides, how are we to know that the majority of the 150,000 people who received the survey weren’t in fact male, yet the responses were mostly from the female community? We can't know this, we can only go off figures - and that’s what makes it so hard.
So where else do our users hang out? To find this out, our research began. With our individual tasks set out in the brainstorm, all of us got cracking on our research, scouring the corners of the internet to find out who you are. And here’s how we did it.
Where do our users hang out?
Kieran, our Marketing and PR Manager collected a lot of data based around the magazines in which we get featured. Compressing the data into 20 different categories, he collated the data to find the percentages of how many times our products were featured in each category. This was then passed on to another member of the team in order to collect data on the reader demographics for each category of magazine. This was a time consuming task - a lot of magazines aren’t forthcoming with their readership profiles.
Prezzybox’s High Traffic Categories
Amanda, our Site Analyst managed to compile a list of all our gift categories, in order of the traffic they receive. This was done in order to find out where our users are going. Unfortunately, this still doesn’t show us who they are...can we come to a conclusion based upon the webpages being viewed? Maybe determining gender based upon web traffic is a little presumptuous, and not something we’re willing to conclude over.
Location, Location, Location...
Where do our customers hide out? Tony, our top techie was able to compile a report based upon orders over the past two years. The spreadsheets contained information from over 150,000 orders which were passed on to Sam to sort out into some easy-read data. This data was then passed on again to another member to do the maths...Location was then split into regions and shown on a map...
- % Of orders within each region
Another simple survey was designed, with the questions asked being Age, Gender, Occupation, Education and Hours worked per week. To increase the chances of people completing the survey, we offered each participant a £5 Prezzybox Voucher.....
- Statistics from Newsletter Survey
And of course, to help us remove the focus from the internet dwellers, our Customer Services team started a gender tally. Although this was all they were able to capture, it certainly gives us more of an insight into who our other users may be...after all, our customer services team know our customers the best!
Customer Services Telephone Statistics
But why can't we just ask?
Well, if you want your research to go down like a lead balloon, then do just that!
Asking the question on Facebook....
What we decided to leave out
You may notice that we’ve not included everything that we initially brainstormed about. After going away and thinking about it, we did come across a few obstacles that were to prevent us from completing some of the tasks.
Why did we not amend the feedback form?
The feedback form was initially going to be amended in order for us to find out more information about the customer, however after taking time to contemplate what we actually need from you, we decided that this leaned more towards ‘user experience’, as opposed to ‘user’. Although this would be helpful in the near future for when we conduct more research, we don’t want to waste time finding out information that is useless to us at this present moment…
Why did we not conduct the street survey?
We originally came up with the idea that we could do a street survey – a member of staff dressed as a present whilst being filmed interacting with the public. This would be a very interesting angle to take if we were setting out to find how many of the general public had actually heard of Prezzybox – but that wasn’t our plan. There would be minimal information we could gain from this task, especially as location plays a big part in our customer demographic. Once again, a great task for any future research!
So we have all the data collected from several different sources - by fusing all the data together, will we finally know who our customer is?
Final statistics based on various sources of data
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION
So what can we say about the data?
If we look at figures alone, we can see that the majority of our customers are female, aged between 25 and 44 and live in either London or Scotland…
But is that a fair conclusion? No! How can we single out those who do fit into that demographic and ignore the rest? Well we can’t, and we won’t. Every customer is important to us, and we want to be able to cater to all of your requirements.
Which research worked best?
Due to the accuracy of this particular piece of data, we think that the postcode location generator worked the best – we haven’t expected anyone to fill out forms, surveys, or answer our questions, and we purely went off the data of our customers. However, although this gave us accurate data as to where our customers live, that’s the only information we could get from this report – we still couldn’t find out age or gender. Incorporating different methods of research was essential to get a fair idea of our customer, but that poses a problem in itself – we can’t make people take our survey, we can only ask. Even then, how do we know whether people are being honest? It’s one of the only ways in which we can gain data, although unfortunately, it’s not all that accurate…
Is it what we expected?
We asked a couple of members of staff who work directly with our customers to see if the results were as expected. Opinions are as follows:
Jo - I was quite shocked at the age range – I know from previous research, and by the people I tend to engage with are younger, perhaps between 18- early 30s; I didn’t expect the majority of our customers to fall into the 25-44 category. I was also shocked at the ABC1 socioeconomic profile being assigned to the majority of our customers – again, previous research suggests otherwise. I did expect, however, that the majority of our customers would be female, based solely on the interaction I have with them through social media.
Sam - I thought that the response of the surveys was good and more rapid than I thought. The results pretty much reflect what I thought to begin with but I was surprised by the ABC1 social demographic being so high.
Amanda - I was expecting our customers to be female, aged 28-35, in relationship with no children and on a relatively low income. Therefore the age range was what I expected, but was also surprised by the ABC1 social demographic.
And of course....The Big Cheese -
I’ve been running Prezzybox for over 13 years. Many times over the past decade and a third I’ve been asked “Who is your customer demographic?” to which I’ve given the standard answer “oh, it’s ABC1 mainly female, 20-40 year old blah blah blah”.
This always seemed to satisfy the questioners question and in doing so allowed us to put the whole ‘who is our audience debate’ to bed for a wee while.
But then I got to thinking… Shouldn’t I really know the answer to this? Isn’t it a wee bit important? Wouldn’t it enable us to find better products/do more suitable marketing and in doing so wouldn’t this mean we’d be a better company? I think the answer is a big massive affirmative.
So – I then went about tasking the marketing guys with exactly who our audience are. Notice I said audience and not just our customers – our audience, or in other words everyone who sees and engages with Prezzybox as a brand – be it through Facebook and Twitter or those people who actually visit the site and buy some of our splendid goodies.
Somewhat predictably we found that most of our customers were female, either lived in Scotland or London and were aged between 25 – 44. A waste of time therefore confirming what we already know? Absolutely not!
Our research enabled us to determine everything from average age/earning and gender through to little details like the newspapers our customers read through to even which supermarket they shopped at. Awesome!
With this info we are now producing a natty picture profile of our key customer demographics and will make these profiles “come to life”. We’ll give them names, hobbies, tastes in music – the works.
Why? Well, this will this help us (help you)?
When these profiles “come to life” we’ll be able to aim everything we do as a company – from finding awesome products, to running splendid competitions and partnering with selected 3rd parties – so it is most appealing to our lovely customers/audience.
In turn, we should therefore become even more appealing as a brand and thus it should be an upward spiral which benefits both company/customer alike.
How can we use this research in the future?
Any research conducted is a learning curve. You find out information you need, you find out information that’s useless – but it’s only once you’ve done the lot can you filter out the figures you initially set out to retrieve. All in all, we have gained a generally good idea as to who we can target our marketing at and who we can produce awesome content for – which in the end, is all we set out to do, right?