If you work in comms or marketing, you have no doubt seen the monthly trend briefing from trendwatching.com, revealing a new audience – the ‘Virgin Consumer’. The piece really caught my eye, and it genuinely wasn’t because of the amusing yet shameless use of innuendo that inevitably peppered the article (promise I won’t take it that far on my own post!). It is because most of us could probably relate to this type of consumer, and as marketers, we can learn from knowing what makes this audience tick.
In a nutshell, these consumers love to try out new products and apps; mostly because they are created with the end user in mind and are therefore adding real value to their lives. Whether it is about innovation, intuitive design, or the levels of trust that consumers now have in new brands and products, there are some key elements that even the most established brands can take note of.
You know the deal. Constantly browsing online for the latest good looking product to pin on your board (on Pinterest for those out of the loop), or maybe bragging about a deal you just found on Groupon with a previously unheard of salon. We all have elements of this behaviour in our lives, and let’s face it; we can be pretty hard to please because we know what we like, and how to find it. Brands have one chance to get it right, and if not, you won’t bother with them again.
Gone are the days of lazily relying on what we know, brands that make us feel safe…enter the days of exciting, risk-taking online shopping for completely random items. I just bought a mug on Fab.com, which has an octopus inside it – love it – and would never have found it if it wasn’t for an insatiable appetite for the new and the random to brighten up everyday life.
In the interest of easily digestible content, below I’ve outlined three useful tips that come out of the report;
1. ‘First timer’ does not mean ‘easy to please’ – it is important to remember that, while these consumers are up for trying new things, it doesn’t mean they are more forgiving when it comes to service. They still have high expectations, and in fact the trends piece highlighted that two out of three consumers cited slow loading times online as a reason to abandon a purchase*
2. Innovate from the roots upwards – with an increase in crowd-sourced funding platforms such as Kickstarter, there is an army of inventors out there developing intuitive products and technologies that fulfill a particular need. However the more established brands are still getting in on the action. A good example cited in the trend briefing is the Nike+ Fuelband, which allows consumers to measure how much they move during the day, and tweak their lifestyles accordingly to become as active as they can be.
3. Know and live a brand’s life story – it is becoming more evident, as markets become increasingly flooded with similar products, that it is now more important than ever for a brand to have a persona. A recent example was given within the report which was a denim brand in the US, Hiut Denim, which tells the story of its roots through its website very well.
Far from the expected behaviour that comes with the connotations of the word virgin, these consumers are not likely to stick around. They are much more likely to jump from one thing to the next just to get that fix of trying something new. In light of this knowledge, we can certainly assume that it will take a lot for them to be incentivised to stay loyal, and take a very compelling and refreshing campaign to engage them in the longer term.
*Source: Brand Perfect, December 2012