Leveraging human-first experiences to build strategic plans for Health, Wellness, and Lifestyle Brands
As marketers, it’s easy to forget that we are also consumers, “the target market” for so many brands and companies that touch our lives daily. I’m a mom, a working professional, a friend, a yogi, a homeowner, a traveler, and so much more. It’s estimated that an average person is exposed to 5,000-10,000 ads per day. As a practitioner of mindfulness, I try to bring awareness to my day-to-day by identifying what messages have resonated with me and motivated action, to further inspire my marketing mind.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present, aware of what we’re doing and what’s going on around us, and yet not being reactive or overwhelmed. We can create a distance between ourselves and our experience that allows us to “name” what’s happening and can reflect on it versus being carried away into the experience. Bringing in a practice of mindfulness allows me the opportunity to reflect on four key principles that can ultimately be leveraged when building strategic go-to-market plans to drive results: Catch, Connect, Close, and Continue.
1) Catch: Catching is about awareness, and making consumers aware of a product or service. Getting eyes on your brand, and putting your brand into the minds of consumers.
2) Connect: Connecting is about speaking to consumers through relevant content – in a way that resonates with their hearts and minds.
3) Close: Closing is about conversion. Making a purchase, signing up for a service. During this phase, a consumer can either experience your brand as a trusted resource and become more confident in their decision, or they can be completely turned off.
4) Continue: Continuing is about building long-term trust, loyalty, and advocacy. It’s about building relationships, bringing consumers into your community, and providing them with reasons to stay.
Using mindfulness, I can reflect on my day-to-day experiences to better understand what is happening for me, the consumer. Leveraging our own personal experiences as consumers allows another layer of human-first marketing insights and strategy that can complement qualitative and quantitative research methods.
How did they “Catch” me?
Where did I see their message – TV, social, blog, print, out of home? Likely more than once. Were they there in the search results when I was looking for the company, solution, or product? Did they surround me with messages during a specific event or culturally relevant topic? At what stage in my purchasing decision did they reach me?
How did they “Connect” with me?
What message(s) did they send me? Was there new news that I became aware of? Or a new product benefit or feature? Did they communicate a solution to a problem that I didn’t even know I had? Did it make me feel something? Did they tell a story? Were they contextually relevant for me in terms of my mindset? What part of me was receiving that message [the mom, the yogi, the homeowner?] Did their search ads contain the keywords that I Googled?
How did they “Close” me?
Did they not give up on me when I abandoned the cart in the middle of making dinner and sent me reminder messages later that evening? Was it easy for me to find what I was looking for on their website? Did the landing page that I ended up on give me the info that I wanted based on my search? Was the buying experience easy? Did their website have a live chat and helpful responses to drive me to a decision? Did they offer me an incentive? Did they offer something else valuable to me? A recipe? An article that offered me a new perspective or relevant information?
How did they “Continue” with me?
Do they communicate with me in a way that makes me feel like I’m part of their community? Do I engage in their social media posts and feel like I’m getting more than just sold to? Do they send me emails that I’m intrigued to open and reminder emails based on my typical purchase cycle? What is their customer service like if I call and have an issue? Does it match their brand? Authenticity and relationship building is critical to keep me loyal. I want to trust a brand; I want to feel that they get me as a person and that they genuinely care about me as a human being and solving my problems.
Taking a few moments to reflect on our own day-to-day personal experiences with a mindfulness practice can give marketers a human-first understanding of the consumer journey. When building strategic plans, it’s critical to plan holistically, with a lens to the entire consumer experience; not simply one piece of the journey. Knowing motivations, behaviors and ultimately the decision-making journey is so critical to building a solid marketing strategy and planning for the best path forward. I encourage you to bring mindfulness into your day, to reflect on the many brand messages and experiences you receive as a consumer, and ask yourself those four questions.
About the Author
Parallel Path Senior Strategic Consultant, Sam Mueller brings over 16 years of marketing and brand-building experience both on the client and agency side, across well-known consumer brands and small start-ups. Sam spent more than a decade with Danone North America building purpose-driven brands such as Activia, Danimals, Horizon Organic, Silk, and International Delight. She served as Director of the enterprise-wide Consumer Engagement organization, leading teams in the development of creative campaigns, integrated marketing plans, and brand activation programs. Prior to joining Danone (formerly WhiteWave) in 2010, Sam was an Account Executive at a marketing and advertising firm in Madison, Wisconsin. Sam lives in Lafayette, Colorado with her two daughters Olivia and Kira. Sam’s youngest daughter, Kira, was born with a rare genetic condition, Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, compelling Sam toward a new purpose and passion for affecting positive change in the area of healthcare research and advocacy.