Alma Media > Releases > Releases > Living information > 2015 > The object of consumers’ love

The object of consumers’ love

The long-term and systematic building of a brand identity is something which engages and excites people, and strengthens consumers’ emotional attachment. Targeting has become the latest buzzword in advertising, and when achieved in the right proportions and in the right environment it can be very efficient indeed. Applied too much, it can turn against itself and even discourage consumers.

I’m worried about many things, and I’m not the only one. I am worried about the basics that seem to have been forgotten, but why does it matter? Because I believe that by sticking to the basics we can achieve better results.

The focus of my concern moves from the world economy to marketing communications. All the fuss the industry creates, commotion about digitalisation and making excuses take a lot of energy, and it worries me that among all this, the essentials are lost.

In Finland, investment in media advertising only makes up 0.6 per cent of the GNP, which is very little compared to many other countries. The proportion of media advertising in the entire marketing communications sector has fallen by four percentage points over the past five years. Approximately 100 million euros from the media marketing budgets move overseas every year. When we talk about this portion, we encounter one word over and over again: targeting.

Am I against targeting? Against everything that modern digital technology is used for? That we, as a company, invest in heavily? No, I’m not. I’m just trying to focus on what is important. To remind people of the basics, encourage them to invest in their own brand or product in the long term as well.

From a small picture to the bigger one

How have consumers changed? In general, their basic needs are exactly the same as before. What is for dinner, where to go on holiday, the car needs to be serviced and we need to add kitchen roll to the shopping list. Admittedly, the shopping process has changed in some product groups; for example, recommendations play a big part now and the amount of information available has multiplied. But the traditional AIDA model is still valid. We still need to attract consumers’ attention, pique their interest and desire, get them on our side and finally make them act by closing the deal.

We will always remember the objects of our love for much longer than the nondescript passers-by we just happened to come across, reminds Minna Mäkinen.

To conquer the consumer’s heart. The relationship between emotion and reason has always been a topic of discussion, and it is not going anywhere. We all need stories, reasons to fall in love. We will always remember the objects of our love for much longer than the nondescript passers-by we just happened to come across. They are easy to replace when the next passer-by offers the same thing, and the next after the next. But are we more faithful as consumers when we our emotions take over and we fall in love?

When is enough enough?

There is nothing wrong with targeting, it is not bad or indefensible. It is important to pursue efficiency, find the right target groups and the right moments. But sometimes it is good to ask what’s what. When is enough enough? What is too much? Have we been making sure that we are recognised; have we kept up an emotional connection with our customers or are we thinking too small – with a focus on a single deal? We have the tools to do all of this in today’s digital world.

Sometimes it is a good idea to reach potential buyers as far as possible, given the fact that there are only about five million of us, speakers of ‘that weird language’, Finnish. To have a wider scope instead of focusing on smaller specific groups within target groups at a certain time of the day, in a particular service when they have just visited another service.

In these difficult times, I would like to encourage people to adopt a new perspective, to reach a little further. Building a brand is a long-term process consisting of individual actions. Would we not all want consumers to be in love with us in the years to come?

Minna Mäkinen, from the target group of worriers.