The old saying of “you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar apparently never made it to the fruit fly community. Recently, I experienced a fruit fly surge in my kitchen. Like any digitally minded person, my first action was to Google “How to get rid of fruit flies.” Interestingly, I discovered that vinegar is a top recommendation for attracting them. So much for one size fits all when it comes to fly aphrodisiacs.

That got me thinking about marketing, specifically attracting customers. Knowing that one key thing that will most entice your audience requires thoughtful research. Effective research must go beyond just listening to what people say to a researcher or in answering a survey. For example, many parents will say that they want their kids to eat healthy, but then give in to their children’s begging/nagging for the cereals advertised on tv.

Taking the example of parents buying cereal a step further, what we as marketers need to understand is the key purchase driver. Is it healthy food or a happy kid? And how can a company figure out which is more compelling?

Web analytics enable marketers to track where website users went before making a purchase or leaving their website. Did they look at healthy foods and then not buy them? Did they buy something else?

While online behavior is a great first start in identifying behavior, qualitative information like that found in social media, can often yield more useful insight in to purchase drivers.

Today, social media allows companies the opportunity to engage in conversations that were previously not possible. Not only can marketers converse within their own social media channels, but they can also participate in other places.

For example, a company selling healthy food for kids could post discussion topics and questions in online forums for moms like Healthy Mama’s Facebook page. Consistently following the conversations of your target (i.e. Social Listening), can yield useful insights for product development, pricing, promotion and messaging.

With all of the advertising and communication mediums available today, consumers are bombarded with messages. Taking the time to listen and engage can help you ensure that you connect with the right messages. And if it’s fruit flies you’re trying to attract, don’t forget the vinegar!

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