on June 22, 2016 Getting Started with Design Thinking Human-Centered Design Design Thinking

Consumer Research Insights in Everyday Life

Habits are incredibly valuable to consumer insight managers because they enable a deeper understanding of your customers and the patterns that drive their everyday lives. Armed with this information, the possibilities are endless. You can tap into your customers’ existing habits, become a part of their daily routine, and earn their unrelenting brand loyalty.

Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, is an expert on how companies can leverage habits to gain consumer insights, acquire more customers, and drive revenue. In today’s article, we’ve outlined three of his most powerful findings – along with how you can use them to tap into the mindset of your customers and influence their purchasing decisions.

Look for major life events.

Duhigg broke the news in the New York Times that Target has a way of identifying a woman’s pregnancy during the second trimester based on her purchases. By reaching out to the customer with news about related products, they can earn her business during a pivotal life event – one of the rare times when established shopping habits can change and brand loyalties are up for grabs. Consumer insight managers can take a page from Target’s playbook by analyzing the shopping habits of their customers to look for cues that they’ll be experiencing a major life event, such as buying a house, getting married, or having a baby. From there, reach out to the customer at the exact right moment with a relevant coupon or incentive, and you can win their business and maintain their loyalty throughout this next stage of their lives.

Evaluate your customers’ habits.

According to Duhigg, scientists at M.I.T. learned that rats have the ability to create new habits in order to receive a reward. They discovered that when placed in a familiar setting and offered a coveted reward, the rodents would eventually navigate the maze on autopilot to claim their prize.

The same phenomenon applies to humans. Habits are created within a loop – first there’s a cue, then the action, then the reward. Over time, it becomes automatic. By evaluating customer habits and offering various rewards, consumer insight managers can encourage new patterns that involve their company’s product. To begin, look at triggers for customer behaviors, such as the time of day, their emotional state, and related actions to uncover consumer insights that can reveal new potential motivators.

Piggyback on existing habits.

When Febreeze first launched, it was marketed as a brand new habit – a way to get rid of odors. When customers didn’t respond, P&G tweaked their approach and presented Febreeze as a reward at the end of the cleaning ritual, which is an already established habit loop. The new strategy was incredibly successful, spawned countless associated products, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars within the year.

The lesson here is that not all new habits are marketable right away, and you may be more successful taking the consumer research you’ve gathered and looking for ways to piggyback on your customers’ existing routines. By offering a new reward in addition to one that’s already established, you just may be able to successfully integrate your product into the everyday lives of your customers. 

Ready to apply such human-centered thinking to your consumer insights practices? Download the Batterii for Consumer Insights Managers solution sheet to learn how Batterii can help.

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Chad Reynolds

Chad Reynolds is the Founder of Batterii, a collaboration platform designed to help teams create better experiences. Over the past 15 years, Chad has worked with brands like Adidas, GE Healthcare, Nike and Procter & Gamble to re-imagine their brand experiences for the next generation of consumers.