Customer Research

Got Customer Insight? Now What To Do With It…

Regardless of your industry, using consumer insights is vital to gaining competitive advantage and building a customer base. With the rise of big data it’s more important than ever to ensure your consumer insights are of highly quality, relevant, and actionable.

This means going beyond collecting data and aggregating analytics to discovering usable insights that can inform every part of your business – from marketing positions to product or service development, to marketing and product packaging.

What are consumer insights?

There are many definitions of ‘consumer insight’, but generally speaking a high quality consumer insight offers some deeper truth about the customer that is relevant to the task or issue at hand. The insight is typically based on the customer’s behaviour, beliefs, needs, experiences, or desires, and as such it’s usually based on qualitative and/or quantitative data. The consumer insight will address a specific problem or dilemma, and sometimes these are of a nature that the customer won’t even mention or discuss it.

The insight will be termed such because it reveals something not immediately obvious. One well-known example of a consumer insight is The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, which found that many female consumers though that standards of beauty were limiting and unattainable. That single insight allowed Unilever to reposition the Dove brand with campaigns, new products and new services with great results. Another example of a great consumer insight is that while consumers spend a lot of time online, they still enjoy reading print magazines.

Consumer insights are so important because they offer deeper knowledge into some area of overlap between the customer and the business, and so they allow the business to better understand the customer’s motivations and behaviours. This insight can then be applied to everything from brand development to product positioning and marketing, so that you can truly become a customer-centric organisation.

Choosing the right insight

Your research might reveal half a dozen insights, but focus on the one that is likely to give you the best ROI. Acted upon correctly, the best insights motivate your customers to take action and cast your brand as a compelling one to customers.

Customer insights worth focusing on are those that also give you some basis for generating emotion while differentiating your brand in some way and allowing you to build your competitive advantage. Finally, keep in mind that your customer insights need to align with your products, brand, and strategy in some way.

Taking action with consumer insights

It’s all very well to accumulate deep insights into your customers’ behaviour and motivations, but how do you act on this knowledge and truly leverage it?

1. Revisit your customer insights strategy

When you uncover an actionable consumer insight, the first thing to do is revisit your original strategy. Why did you set out to do research, obtain feedback, collect the data, or otherwise obtain the insight? Usually it will be related to refining strategies and activities to enhance the customer experience and your customer value proposition. Reviewing your customer insights strategy will remind you of what you want to achieve with the insight.

2. Inform your marketing strategy

More often than not, your new customer insight can be used to better inform your market strategy. Take a look at your current marketing strategies and campaigns. Do they fully reflect the new insight? Consider what you can do to adjust and refine your marketing efforts to better reflect what you now know about your customers.

Depending on the nature of the insight, you might be changing just a specific campaign or your overall marketing strategy. For example, if the insight is narrowly focused on just a particular segment, you might want to adjust the relevant campaigns for that segment. It might require as little as a simple reframing of your unique selling proposition. For example, Folgers Coffee was able to almost double its market share by reframing its marketing message to communicate that its coffee was about ‘waking up’ rather than changing some intrinsic feature of the product itself.

If the insight reveals new understandings about your entire customer base, you might be adjusting all your market strategies to reflect this new narrative, motivation, behaviour, or other element of consumer behaviour.

3. Inform your product development strategy

Customer insights can be used to successfully inform product development strategies, from the concept development and feasibility testing to the final product stage. Great insights can sometimes be broad enough to assist your business with coming up with new product or service lines that will open up a new avenue of growth for your enterprise.

  • New product or service possibilities – Review the insight to see if it can in fact be leveraged to generate new product or service possibilities.
  • Development and quantification – What type of products or services can you develop to address this new insight (which might concern a consumer gap in the market)? Which consumer expectations or needs are you fulfilling with this new product? How much demand is there? Further research and additional consumer insights might be required at this stage.

    4. Refine product or service presentation

    Some customer insights can be leveraged to inform a change in product or service presentation. Sometimes all the branding that your customers come in contact with is through your product packaging. Appealing packaging and on-shelf messaging can be powerful selling tools in the absence of strong brand presence. As an example, Starbuck built its brand by focusing on the service process and emphasising an emotional connection with customers.

    Consider how you can change product branding to better reflect the new customer insight you now have. Has your consumer base demonstrated that they value your product in a particular way, and can you change the packaging to better align with or highlight this value?

    Consult with branded promotional experts such as the Minc Marketing Group. For example, they assisted Jenny Craig with the creation of their branded pedometer that was used to celebrate the weightloss company’s 25th anniversary.

    5.Create customised engagement journeys

    With big data and technological tools, customer insights can be so nuanced that they allow your business to create highly individualised customer engagement journeys, from the pre-sales to after-sales stages.

    For example, you can generate leads through apps, track behaviour by segment or geographical location (or other metric), and then continue engaging with customers in automated yet individualised ways – such as with well-timed customer rewards – to encourage repurchase. The goal is to add value at every touchpoint and to fully consolidate all customer-facing activities, and so it’s important to consider how the new insight can in fact help you do that with each segment or individual consumers, throughout all customer-facing points.With the sophisticated content-management systems available today, businesses can provide different variations of advertisements or other types of customer content to better engage with customers, and leverage the customer insight to inform the types of content to be used.

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Fergus Koochew

Fergus Koochew

Fergus Koochew is the Managing Director of Edge. With a strong background in consulting and strategy, Fergus has led the digital transformation of the business and is dedicated to helping brands and agencies bring their promotional ideas to life.