Customer Consumer Tribe

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Customer Consumer Tribe

 As the rise of the internet and social media gives businesses a greater wealth of information about the personalities of their buyers,the importance of personalizing the customer experience has grown exponentially in the last 20 years. From being tagged in an Instagram photo to engaging with brands via Twitter, consumer brands of all sizes are developing a personality and deeper relationships with their buyers.

Cultivating a unique brand personality includes speaking the language of the target consumers whether they’re the powerful Millenial buying generation or baby boomers inching towards retirement. Consumers now desire a more approachable, authentic business with a relatable brand image. With so many smaller businesses and local shops overtaking the market segment of big box stores, what was once a monolithic personality of shoppers has divided into the consumer tribe.

Understanding the “tribe” mindset can give small businesses or those who run an online store a significant advantage when it comes to competing with larger businesses and those with bigger marketing budgets. Notice we use the phrase tribe mindset here. It is important to clarify that demographics are statistical aspects of a person (age, sex, ecomonic status). Tribe differs in that these aspects are psychological, hence mindset. Tribe is about consumer values and interests. 

What is the Consumer Tribe?

Global brands have, in the past, based their marketing initiatives around creating communities, a targeted group of people who share a similar mindset, values, and often hobbies. These communities often share the values of the brand, whether it’s an upscale watchmaker like Rolex or something more accessible, Nike.

Tribes are something smaller – think of them as micro-cultures of consumer communities. While some tribes may be scattered geographically, others may be a result of their communities. Tribes can ebb and flow as trends change, too. Or the tribal zeitgeist can latch onto new trends as they emerge.

Take, for example, the “VCSO Girl,” young teen and college-aged girls who use the photo app VSCO and interact with one another through the platform. This tribe wears Vans shoes, big t-shirts and shorts, and wristfuls of scrunchies and beaded bracelets. The tribe also uses a few catchphrases and embraces a free-spirited, surfer-girl vibe. Marketing to this tribe may be a challenge for businesses that aren’t on the cutting edge of trends, but when a company can get it right, the popularity of the business can quickly build through word-of-mouth and social media.

Tribal Marketing Versus Demographic Marketing

Tribes may not always share the same demographic. Some, for example, may share a collective interest in fitness or veganism, and as such, can mean that the tribe spans across genders, age brackets, and racial and ethnic lines. When looking at tribes, versus the traditional consumer cohorts, it’s important to consider a tribe as something based on subjective qualities, versus categorizing people into cohort categories which focus on more statistical measures. 

In a tribe, the members are typically drawn to leaders, and these leaders often emerge through social media. Bloggers and video hosts for different topics such as photography (for VSCO girls), may not just represent the lifestyle embodied by a certain interest; they are also viewed as something of an expert in that group interest (a Yoga instructor with YouTube classes, for example). These leaders tend to be admired and mimicked by other members of the tribe. As such, the products that these leaders use are often also purchased by their tribe.

Tribes need a shared interest and a method to communicate. A business that can engage in these emotional connections with tribes can also create relationships with their consumers and cater products to meet their needs.

Targeting a niche group of consumers through social media, demonstrates that your brand meets their needs and can engage in a give-and-take. This niche targeting is also referred to as influencer marketing.

How to Find Influencers Within Tribes

Some influencers may be easy to spot – they have millions of subscribers to their YouTube channel or tens of thousands of followers on Instagram. Looking through these social media platforms allows businesses to spot trends and preferences within their niche. For a women’s clothing boutique, for example, looking at fashion-forward influencers can help determine which items to stock, as well as learning what their customer doesn’t like, or what trends are “so last year.”

Finding the tribe can be fairly easy – find the people that are using your products or services and posting about them. There may also be certain hashtags that are popular among the tribe. Looking through posts that use these hashtags can help you find what real users are saying. These members of the tribe are walking, talking, brand ambassadors, and as we’ve noted before, most new customers trust friends, family members, or “regular people” using a product over a celebrity influencer or a sleek marketing campaign.

Micro-Influencers and Niche Groups

Deeper within the tribe may be a subset of micro-influencers, people who, while not a tribal leader, may nonetheless influence a smaller buying segment. While turning to macro-influencers may be an easy first step towards tribe marketing, looking at smaller influencers and spreading out the campaign among them can lead to a more authentic presentation of your brand. The micro-influencers tend to have a closer dynamic with their followers, as opposed to larger accounts, and can help increase the transparent nature of a brand.

Here are some interesting statistics about Instagram users, collected by the marketing research body Markerly. Out of the 800,000 Instagram accounts studied, they found:

Users with 1 million to 10 million followers earned likes only 1.7 percent of the time

Users with 1,000 to 10,000 followers earned likes at a rate of 4 percent

Instagram users with under 1,000 followers generated likes 8 percent of the time

These statistics reflect the desire for Millennials and Generation Z to have a more authentic relationship with brands. Brands that they perceive are authentic and approachable increase the likelihood they will make purchases from those brands.

Making Tribes Work For You

Social media is a gold mine for tribal influencers, as well as a real way for businesses to investigate which unmet needs their consumers have. For a small business owner or a larger brand, looking to social media posts helps give insight into what consumers want. This information helps you develop products, services, and a marketing approach that meets that particular need.

By developing your own online presence as a business, you’re better able to interact with your targeted “tribes” and present your brand as one that is fit for membership.

Tribes to Personas

On the Tribe level, you are still considering groups of people. However, to truly embrace the customer first approach, you need to be able to understand your target market on the personal level. When you can create a consumer persona –the embodiment of the qualities of your ideal consumer– you can begin to have a deeper understanding of their motivations and actions. Knowledge of this intimate information will inform your business strategies across the board. 

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Chapter 1: Getting started

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Chapter 2: Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

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Chapter 3: General Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 4: Phishing & Email Attack Statistics

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Chapter 5: Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 6: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 7: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 8: Privacy Statistics

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