As an experienced marketer, you know your products’ features and benefits inside and out. Gaining a deeper understanding of the purchase and use occasions for those products, however, is more challenging, but it could make all the difference in your marketing efforts. Identifying the types of occasions and the circumstances surrounding those occasions will provide invaluable insights into the who, what, when, where and why your product is purchased, as well as the consumer’s personality and sociocultural self.What Are Occasions?
In the world of consumer research, the term “occasions” refers to times and events during which products are used, as well as times and events that drive product purchase. Typically, these occasions fall into four buckets:
- Routine: These occasions relate to things people do or use everyday or every week at home or work. Product examples could include office chairs, coffee and snacks.
- Seasonal or Weather-Related: These occasions could be seasons, like winter or spring, or related to things like rainy days or heat waves. Products include umbrellas, board games and cold drinks.
- Special Occasions: These occasions include birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day. Products include jewelry, flowers and cooked hams.
- Time-Related: These occasions including early morning, late night and just being in a hurry. Products include alarm clocks, fast food and time-saving apps.
Uncovering Occasions-Related Insights
Fortunately, the internet is overflowing with references to occasions of product use in product reviews and comments, social media, blogs, forum posts, etc. Analyzing these comments will uncover exactly what occasions are invoking product use – and all the insights you need to fine tune your marketing around that. One problem -- manually analyzing and making sense of hundreds of thousands of comments is virtually impossible, especially for a large national or international brand. That’s why you need the help of artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning to sift through this valuable content. Oculus360 has developed a proprietary, patent-pending consumer insights platform that does exactly that, automatically and at scale.
How These Insights Influence Marketing
Understanding the product use occasion of particular consumers provides information that can enable more effective marketing, including their particular demographic segment – gender, age, personality, sociocultural, etc. If a product is discovered to be used at high school, for example, we can assume the consumer is in the 14-18 age range. If the product use occasion is at a bachelorette party, we can assume the consumer’s gender is more often than not female.
More importantly, if you’re able to determine the occasions where consumers are using your product, or the occasions they associate with your product, you’re one step closer to understanding the motivations behind their purchasing decision. Once you better understand those motivations, you can adapt your marketing messaging to reflect that learning.
Oculus360 worked with a large CPG to provide some occasions-related learning around their tortilla offerings. We analyzed both the tortilla and bread categories since there are many similarities, and our client found that while occasions such as breakfast and weeknight meals were discussed similarly in both categories, bread scored significantly higher in school meals. They were then able to apply this new consumer insight to their marketing, encouraging consumers to use tortillas instead of bread for school meals to add variety and deliver potential health benefits.
How These Insights Affect Product Design
Just as your freshly uncovered consumer insights will affect your messaging, they can also influence other areas, like product design. You could use these insights to task your innovation teams with adjusting your product to better fit the targeted occasion. If your products are headphones, for example, Oculus360 research may uncover an insight that most of your consumers are using them to exercise. With this knowledge, your product team might explore improved waterproofing or increased durability. If you find that many of your consumers are using your headphones during travel, the product team might explore noise-cancelling capabilities for noisy planes and trains.
Occasions for Change
It should now be clear how a deep dive into product use occasions can provide important, game-changing consumer insights. It should also be clear how these insights can be the cause of positive change in messaging, product, brand and many other consumer touchpoints – all of which are occasions for celebration.