Introduction: Consumer Insights
For many of today’s business organizations, obtaining consumer insights has become one of the most important strategic priorities.
This allows them to understand more completely and accurately how customers feel and think, what they need and care about, and how they make purchase decisions. Consumer insights also empower businesses to think and become customer-first: an essential ingredient to success in today’s connected world.
What is Consumer Insight?
Consumer insight is often defined as an interpretation of trends in human behaviors, which then helps businesses improve customer experience and increase the effectiveness of a product or service.
Consumer insight or insights (CI) is also being talked about increasingly as a field that acts as a bridge between research and marketing departments within a company.
If the aim of market research is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within a business’ marketplace, the aim of consumer insights is to reveal why customers behave in certain ways — through a deeper understanding of underlying mindsets, moods, sentiment, motivations, desires, and aspirations.
In short, consumer insights can equip companies with the information needed to foster customer loyalty, deliver better customer experiences, and drive improved business results.
Wrote Jure Klepic for the Huffington Post: “While traditional marketing research involved gathering mounds of facts, figures and statistics to look for generalities or trends, that was really just skimming the surface. Consumer insights research gets under the skin and inside the consumer’s head to find the ‘why’ of a purchase, to understand what happened, and to project what could occur in the future.”
How Do You Gather Consumer Insights?
Customer surveys and focus group discussions aren’t the only ways to gather consumer insights. You can also detect and interpret customer trends by digging into:
- Online reviews
- Social media comments
- User-generated content
- Sales and engagement data
- Call center notes, phones calls, and e-mails
- Customer roundtables and interviews
- Voice of the Customer data
- Customer feedback
These sources of information are crucial in helping your business understand why customers do things a certain way. Organizations that monitor, manage, and analyze data from these sources are also in a better position to establish and build trust-based customer relationships.
For example: consumer insights may lead you to discover that the speed of the Wi-Fi in your resort properties isn’t as big an area of concern as the quality and price of your buffet breakfast. Data from your online reviews and social media may point out that nobody is talking about poor connectivity on their holiday, but they’re mentioning “breakfast” organically and bringing up the need for more choices and better prices.
A research study by Paul Laughlin for the Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice helps provide a more in-depth understanding of what exactly consumer insight is, and how companies should view it:
“When training customer insight analysts of all flavors, I stress four parts of that definition: 1.) Insight is ‘non-obvious’ so it does not normally come from just one source of information — often it does not come from just analysis or research either. Rather, there is a need to converge evidence to glean insights.
2.) True insights need to be actionable — hypotheses that stay theoretical and cannot be tested in practice are not insights.
3.) Customer insights should be powerful enough that, when they are acted upon, they can persuade individuals to change their behaviour. Just benefiting from targeting based on analysing past behaviour and assuming people will be creatures of habit does not reveal any depth of understanding about them, let alone insight.
4.) To be sustainable, the goal of such customer change must be for mutual benefit. A key law for marketing today is ‘earn and keep the trust of your customers’, which is achieved by acting in their best interests as well as generating long-term value for the organization.”
By investing in consumer insight efforts, you can demonstrate to your customers that you care about their experience. You’ll also be able to deliver more actionable insights to company stakeholders and leverage high-quality feedback that makes an impact beyond traditional market research efforts.