A Curiosity Tale

Identify the role of curiosity and feed it!

Curiouser and curiouser…. It’s not just Alice getting curious in Wonderland. Today’s online and offline consumers are also curious. Consumers are naturally inquisitive and their curiosity drives how they behave. Thier curiosity represents a great but complex opportunity for businesses to understand, influence and engage with their customers. 

As long ago as 1979, the Marketing Science Institute suggested that "generating curiosity increased consumer motivation, boosted brand awareness and led to an increased desire to get more information". What makes customer curiosity even more important today is the myriad of tools we now have available to us to turn curiosity into customer commitment and influence the "customer journey".

Technology has made it easier for consumers to feed their curiosity. As an example, last year there were over 140 Billion searches made with Google alone. And it is clear consumers feel curiosity can be rewarding.  Plus we are able to "drill down" into massive data sources to understand what consumers are looking for in the most minute detail.  Because of these factors there are growing opportunities for real marketing innovation. 

The internet offers consumers access to almost unlimited information sources – and with over 60% of smartphone users using their mobile to access the internet, they can be curious anytime and anywhere. At the same time "messaging" is far past the days of email alone. There is an entire social landscape with on demand updates and insights. With ‘big data’ we can see, follow and measure consumers and observe exactly how curiosity drives their behavior at any time from anywhere.

By using killer insights to help inform your online marketing activity – from the level of consumer curiosity in a category and brand market share of curiosity, to what stimulates curiosity and where, we're no longer restricted to tracking consumer activity with data we own – we can track them almost anywhere.

Unlike the traditional linear customer "journey" that takes a customer from the point of seeing an ad through to purchase and then to track their "customer loyalty", we need to track multiple touch points and understand the emotions involved. Curiosity is much more complex. By understanding how someone feeds their curiosity and where they look for content, we can offer them what they need to take them to the next level. It can be as simple as using an ALT tag that says "Click to see more". 

This could be videos, websites, social media, blogs and search right through to price comparison websites and even live chat. As "directed curiosity" kicks in for what customers want, they can be encouraged to become advocates and help in other’s curiosity through product reviews while retaining their own curiosity through loyalty programs and exclusive opportunities.

Be ever mindful that honesty must be central to developing customer curiosity. Customers questions must be answered honestly and feedback, whether good or bad, should be encouraged. Some brands struggle with the idea of openness – especially if it means bad things might be written about them. But isn't it much better to know if a customer is unhappy so you can make it right?  It’s a proven fact a complainer whose problem is handled well is much more likely to become and advocate for your business.

Curiosity in Action

If the predictions are correct, more and more brands will be focusing on customer curiosity and investigating how to adjust marketing strategy to grow and fulfill the consumers’ inquisitive demands. No longer will it be important to be concerned with brand awareness alone. We will need to know the level at which a brand is stimulating curiosity. Be aware of the unprecedented level of savvy and constant desire to know what’s trending.

Take advantage of the available knowledge of where and how to find what they want. Businesses that ignore the power of curiosity are going to get left behind.

Inspiration and reference material provided by Gavin Wheeler is CEO of WDMP.