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Using the science of mindsets to better understand your customers

Technology & Data

Using the science of mindsets to better understand your customers


Marketers have long understood the need to use data to better understand their customers and prospects’ mindsets. But how do you derive meaning and insight from data to deliver better outcomes? Andrew Aitken explains.

Change is coming

Andrew Aitken 150 BWTypically, marketers have built meaning and insight around customers and prospects based on geo-demographics.  This type of data has been relatively simple to capture and is easily translated across media buying channels. More recently, marketing technology has enabled the simpler capture and use of behaviour and interest data.  

While this information is useful, it still presents distinct challenges. It doesn’t identify why a person has engaged with your brand, what motivates them or how they think. Not all people who are demographically the same and show similar behaviour or interests think in the same way. However, when we segment and analyse customer data, typically this is how they are grouped together.  

For example, let’s looks at a hypothetical customer segment: female customers, aged 25 to 34, earning more than $100,000 per year. They’ve all purchased premium wine in the last month, drive a mid-size SUV and are frequent users of social media. Knowing that everyone in this segment will think and be motivated differently, how do marketers engage these customers when everything about them looks the same?

Related: Neurotrash! Sifting through the science and nonsense of neuromarketing »
Dumpster neuroscience

Mindset is key

The key is understanding how your customers think. Organisations need to better analyse their data to really understand their customers’ mindsets and thinking patterns to better engage with them. Going beyond the insight delivered through demographic or behavioural targeting is a game changer.

This sounds straightforward, but how can we understand customer mindset? Using neuroscience allows us to capture real data on decision making as it relates to a particular situation. This kind of data allows you to understand precisely how and why individuals are making decisions and use this to influence their next decision.

There are three elements to consider when understanding mindset:

  1. Demographics: the study of a population based on common characteristics such as age, gender, income and education.
  2. Psychographics: the qualitative study of people based on their expressed attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours
  3. Sociographics: the study of the individual and the way they approach their decision making, such as personal needs, profile, attitudes and passions.

Related: The neuromarketing debate: a harsh criticism and fervent defence »

MRI neuromarketing debate


By bringing together all three you can identify the consumer’s mindset to deliver actionable insights.

In the scenario of the customer segment described above, for example, using mindsets will enable you to determine that some customers are interested in discounts and limited time offers. Thus, you need to appeal to their most immediate needs by demonstrating how you can deliver efficiencies to their daily lives. Another segment might resent feeling pressured into making a decision and want time to do their own research. They need information to give them choice and you need to appeal to their individualism. On the other hand, one group might be won over by offers that benefit them and their families.

Businesses need to bring together human data sets (such as data captured in a CRM) and work with a partner to analyse it to find relationships – then produce clusters of thinking (mindsets) which show the different approaches to decision making for different customer segments. By enriching your existing customer data with the mindsets that best match your customers, you will have deeper insights on how they think and how to engage these customers with the right message or offer.

A better understanding of customer mindset also enables businesses to:

  • develop tailored campaigns that resonate with customers when and where they are most receptive
  • ensure the products and services developed are right for their customers, make improvements and develop new products, and
  • align customer mindset with employee mindset to create better customer service experiences.

The way we understand our customers and engage with them is being transformed. It has never been easier to derive more meaning and insight from your customer data – find the differences when everything looks the same – to deliver better business outcomes.

Andrew Aitken is GM of marketing solutions at Gooroo


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Image credit: Bewakoof.com Official


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