Why Consumer Commitment Is Important When Targeting Audiences

January 10, 2023

How can we tell if someone is committed to something? This question of intent is an age-old question for a range of things in life: hobbies, relationships, jobs, and more. The more committed we are to something, the more passionate we are. This means we are likely to engage more frequently with the things we are committed to. When consumers have strong commitment to certain brands, this leads to frequent engagement with the brand, its products, commercial locations, and more. This is why it’s so important for marketers to gauge consumer commitment when it comes to audience segmentation.

Oftentimes, advertisers may not be targeting their audiences effectively because they lack insights into consumer commitment. For example, if a user browses a web page to learn something about their neighbor’s home, they may immediately fall into a Google audience for in-market home buyers. But, what if you knew that this same user has never attended an open house or visited a home for sale? This user’s level of commitment to purchasing a home now appears to be much lower within this audience.

Conversely, what if you had no online browsing information for the consumer, but knew that the consumer had visited three homes for sale in the past week? That looks like a highly committed in-market home buyer. So, who would be a more valuable target for advertising if you were a mortgage lender? The more commitment a consumer shows, the more value you’re likely to gain from said consumer.

What Can Location Tell You?

As the leading provider of enterprise location intelligence, we at Gravy understand how significant location data insights can be for an organization looking to reach its target audience. Where consumers go is one important indicator of what is important to them. The question all marketers should ask themselves is what location does and does not say about a particular consumer. How can we truly define consumer commitment with location intelligence?

Consider this scenario: A consumer visits an open field, an Italian restaurant, and a theater. One might conclude that this person likes the outdoors, likes pasta, and attends plays. However, event information for those locations may tell us a more unique story. Now consider this: What if there was a wine festival in the open field, what if the restaurant was hosting a wine tasting that evening, and what if three jazz bands played at the theater the night in question? This consumer profile starts to look like a wine enthusiast who enjoys jazz—it starts to look more specific, and more properly segmented.

Location told us a lot in both scenarios. First, visiting a location shows commitment. It takes far more personal commitment to travel to a place than to click on a link. People that go to physical venues have made some effort to be there. Second, location and place information provide useful context. It can be valuable to know if audiences are frequent Walmart shoppers or often visit Home Depot, Olive Garden, and Starbucks. If you are a brand that wants to reach current customers, this data is very valuable. It is also beneficial if you are a competitor and you are hoping to conquer some of these customers.

At Gravy, we understand the value of this type of information. We also match location to event data to provide even richer audience segments. Location intelligence can take the idea of gauging commitment to a new level in a marketing strategy.

Event Attendance, Intention, and Consumer Commitment

Let’s consider another example: A consumer visits a gym each Tuesday night, a church every Thursday evening, and a local park on Saturday mornings. On the surface, these activities don’t appear to be related. However, with Gravy’s event database, we might find a deeper connection. For example, all three locations may have yoga classes scheduled at those times. Therefore, we could conclude that this consumer is committed to yoga. Another person that shows up at a gym multiple times per week may be a fitness enthusiast. If we know they traveled to Carson, California, to attend the CrossFit Games, that may indicate a stronger level of commitment to fitness.

Event attendance and participation can also be distinguished from habits. A consumer may visit a location frequently out of sheer convenience. Target may be the closest grocery store to a consumer’s home. Starbucks might be located in a consumer’s office building. This particular consumer may then frequently buy from Target and Starbucks over other brands because of its proximity. This doesn’t necessarily indicate commitment or brand affinity. These Target and Starbucks consumers may be willing to switch to other brands under the right circumstances. They may also proactively choose other brands if convenience isn’t the primary decision criteria.

By contrast, event attendance is both intentional and optional. People may need to purchase groceries and many need their coffee, but they might get by just fine without attending a wine festival. A consumer that consistently attends rock concerts at local arenas and clubs has the option to stay home and watch Netflix for their entertainment instead. The intention behind consumers’ actions—and the added effort and cost to attend an event—demonstrate consumer commitment.

Commitment Online vs. Real Life

Event attendance also tells us about real-life commitments when other signals can represent distortions. Social media might help us learn about consumers, but social media typically represents what people want others to see. Social media information can oftentimes be superficial. Someone could post about their allegiance to a particular political cause because it is popular. Meanwhile someone else could spend their time attending a rally for that cause, because it is important to them. Which scenario demonstrates more commitment to marketers? In this case, the person who attended a rally would be showing a higher level of commitment because of the extra effort they put forward to attend an event in the physical world versus simply posting online.

Location Intelligence: The Bridge Between Online and Offline Activity

Online and offline behavior can tell us two different stories. But, blending online and offline behavior paints a more detailed picture of the consumer. This is where marketers can gain the most insight and value from their research.

As previously mentioned, social media may signal inaccurate information about a consumer, since consumers often use social media to portray certain habits or affinities that may not be real offline. For example, social media users may check in at inaccurate locations, interact with brands they don’t interact with offline, etc. On the other hand, social media behavior may validate offline behavior. If a user is committed to a brand, product, or hobby, they may show their commitment by frequently engaging with a brand’s social media posts, writing reviews, or even producing user generated content.

Because of the potential discrepancies between a consumer’s online and offline behavior, it’s important for marketers to match insights from location data to their online consumer data to gain a more in-depth understanding of their audiences. This is how location intelligence can lead to more effective segmentation and audience targeting.

To learn more about how you can measure consumer commitment and leverage this in your audience segmentation, connect with a Gravy expert today.

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