Notes for CMOs: How to track customer change during uncertain times

Written by
Fifty Team

27 Jul, 2022

People are not static. Their needs and wants evolve over time, as do their passions and interests. And all of this impacts how and when they choose to consume. In the UK, with a recession looming and the cost of living crisis squeezing households, it is more important than ever for brands and marketers to not only understand their audiences, but understand how their audiences evolve.

For many brands, the lockdowns of 2020 caused one of the most precipitous drops in customer spend ever. Fifty worked with several companies to help them adapt at a time when predictable consumer behaviour went out the window. Working with one DTC brand, we used our Fifty insights platform to power stellar growth, helping the brand acquire 30,000 new customers in one quarter alone.

We live in turbulent times, when unforeseeable global events will require marketers to have nimble strategies. Below are three crucial ways you can keep track of a changing customer base to navigate periods of uncertainty.

Understand where new customers are coming from

In March 2020, a DTC food brand came to Fifty looking to expand their audience and capitalise on the fact that more people would be cooking at home. The first step was to understand their client base, using their CRM to build a profile of their existing and prospective audiences. Studying their CRM, our Insights Team identified several cohorts – what we call tribes – within the audience that cluster around shared interests and passions.

We refreshed the CRM study once a quarter to retrospect and retarget based on how the brand’s audience was evolving as it achieved greater awareness. As the brand gained awareness, new tribes emerged in our study, which impacted the marketing strategy, pivoting from an occasional luxury for those who love to cook to a takeaway alternative for more mainstream tribes.

By running regular CRM studies, you can understand who is still engaged with your brand during difficult times. This means you can build a more efficient audience strategy for the next quarter, targeting customer profiles that are still buying, which is particularly valuable during any economic crisis.

Understand what your customers are buying

Another crucial insight is to know what your customers are still buying. What products do they deem important enough to spend money on during times of uncertainty? Fifty’s insights platform can not only tell you who your current customers are from a behavioural point of view, we can overlay which products they are purchasing to create a more rounded understanding of their purchasing motivations. Different tribes might respond to different products and different marketing messages. By knowing what your customers are buying, we can help you build a more tailored product and creative strategy, putting the right items and creatives in front of the audiences who will engage with it the most.

Understand what matters most to your customers

Once you understand where your new customers are coming from, you need to understand their evolving interests. This means understanding what matters specifically to them. Within our platform, we use social listening to discover the trending topics of any tribe.

By analysing live, online conversation, we can track key topics for each tribe and identify their top concerns and talking points. This enables you to have a nuanced approach to your marketing, making sure your creative is aligned with what your target audience might be concerned about. Personalised targeting is always important, but even more so in turbulent times, when tribes within your audience may be facing very different concerns.

There is no telling what might happen to the economy in the coming months – but what is clear is that planning for uncertainty requires agility and an ability to be responsive and pivot to your audience's needs. By understanding your customers as they evolve, your brand can evolve along with them and avoid being left behind.

From regular CRM studies to in-depth reports on your audiences, Fifty’s Insights team can equip you with the tools to navigate tumultuous times. Get in touch or book a demo today.

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