Marketing Tips: Why You Need to Focus More on Consumer Intent

Saturday, November 10, 2018

We’ve all been taught that to know your key demographic is to know your target audience, even the team here at Gamify are accountable for spreading that message, and while it may be all well and true, for marketers to rely solely on key demographics as a read on their consumer base. They risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers.

Why is this the case? This is due to the fact that demographics rarely tell the whole story, they don’t help us truly grasp what we need to know about our consumers. Understanding consumer intent is much more powerful, having an understanding of what consumers are looking for and where they are looking for it in a specific moment, helps yield stronger results.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a need to identify key demographics and invest into building longterm loyal customers, but with the mentality of the modern consumer and the resulting current marketing landscape, you would be depriving yourself of immediate sales if you fail to harness the micro-moments that occur on a daily basis.

Target demographics are beneficial for marketing, but they're only a fraction of the greater market your brand should be marketing to in the age of the assisted consumer.

“What are these, micro-moments?” You ask, well lets give some simulated examples. Imagine you have a leaky sink. What would of once been a phone call to a plumbing service has now been abridged to a quick YouTube search for a “how-to” video.

What about a sudden realisation that you haven’t bought those shoes for a loved one’s birthday creeping up real soon and you won’t have time to shop around. What was once a stress-filled time of squeezing in a moment to find a store which held a specific pair of shoes is now replaced with a quick search on your smartphone for the best options on price and shipping time, all done without the need to travel from A to B all the way through to Z to see your options.

These moments occur all. the. time.

More importantly, they occur outside of what would be deemed the target demographics for those particular products and services. In these situations intent and immediacy beat out identity and loyalty. So, as marketers what do you do about these transactions that take place beyond the initial customer forecast?

These micro-moments are the best opportunity marketers have to connect with people outside of their usual consumer grouping, at the exact point in time they are looking for something. Understanding consumer intent and meeting their needs in that very moment is the key to winning more hearts, minds, and dollars.

Demographic data is limited in what it can tell you

As mentioned before, demographics will always play a part in marketing and understanding the consumer, but in order to be in a better position than your competition and of greater accessibility and use for “fringe consumers”, you must understand and respond to intent.

Being a Gamification company, we can’t help but use video games as an example. We’ve discussed in previous articles about how the perception of the standard gamer is way off, in fact there is no standard gamer with both female and male gamers almost having a completely balanced share of the gaming market and the age range greatly varying, with the average being 36 years old.

So, to stay the course with marketing video games demographically in mobile searchers to just males between the ages of 18-34, the data shows that you'd miss out on the other 69% of mobile users who are explicitly expressing interest in buying the next big game. Not to mention video game content on YouTube, with 71% of the potential shoppers who are engaging with relevant YouTube content being outside of the target demographic.

This is because YouTube, which is fast becoming the new buyer's guide and owner's manual for games, has become an educational hub for mobile users, who are watching video content to learn how to do things and explore their passions. These people are not all the same and they’re arriving with various intentions, some want advice, others seek inspiration, and others want product reviews.

A great example of a brand that has understood the power of intent and how YouTube can capitalise on this revelation, is Home Depot. The team at Home Depot had figured out "do-it-yourselfers" were turning to their phones (especially YouTube) to learn everything from "how to tile a bathroom floor" to "how to build an outdoor fire pit." So to be more useful in these “I-want-to-do” moments, Home Depot built a content marketing strategy centered around "how-to" videos on YouTube.

Today their YouTube channel has hundreds of videos, with the top 10 videos each reaching a million views or more. The full Home Depot "how-to" collection has received more than 48 million views!

"Mobile has significantly changed how we connect with customers at The Home Depot," said Trish Mueller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at The Home Depot. "We're now laser-focused on how we can use digital to deliver against our customers' needs every moment of the day and every step of their home improvement experience."

The Age of the Assisted Consumer

With the incorporation of smartphones into everyday tasks, comes new forms of consumers. These consumers want to be educated, with personalised responses as soon as possible. As a result, they are more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever before.

Lets take a quick look at these three emerging consumer behaviours:

The Curious Consumer

These consumers want to be sure they’re informed before they make a decision, whether it’s what to buy or where to go. People are embracing a “try before you buy” mentality and a “know before you go” attitude. They are looking to learn as much as possible about products, destinations, and experiences — before they commit.

The types of keywords that these consumers use when conducting a search include:

  • “Best”

  • “____ ideas”

  • “To avoid”

The Demanding Consumer

These consumers expect every digital experience to be personalised just for them, they expect brands to understand their intent. For marketers, this means meeting these demanding consumers with the right information in the right moment.

The types of keywords that these consumers use when conducting a search include:

  • “Me/I”

  • “Near me”

  • “Best for me”

The Impatient Consumer

These consumers are making lightening-fast decisions, and they expect to be able to act upon those decisions instantly. They want immediate help in these decision-making moments.

The types of keywords that these consumers use when conducting a search include:

  • “Open now”

  • “Near me now”

  • “How far?”

Getting started with moments of intent

Knowing your consumer's intent means you can meet them in the moments that matter and deliver helpful content. Putting intent at the centre of your strategy requires two things; for your brand to be there and to be useful to the consumer.

When your potential customers turn to Google and YouTube in their moments of need, you need to make sure you are there. Using trend finding software, such as; SEMrush, Google Trends, WordTracker, Yoast etc, will help you to explore search trends and queries in your category in order to understand what consumers are looking for. Make sure you are there and useful in these moments of intent.

Once you've ensured you're there to meet your customer, you then need to be useful in that moment. Otherwise they will simply move on to another brand. Google’s research shows that 51% of smartphone users have purchased from a company/brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided was useful.

Think about unique, tangible ways your brand can help solve a problem or make life easier in real-time during a micro-moment, such as; provide local inventory information, develop "how-to" videos or offer the ability for consumers to seamlessly check out with an "instant buy" button. These little problem solvers can greatly effect buyer behaviour.


If you knew your market reach could be much greater, just by accounting for those unidentified “fringe consumers”, why wouldn’t you update your online accessibility?

Bottomline, you need to go beyond target market research in order to be both present and useful to the greater “assisted consumers”.


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