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GuidesCustomer researchConsumer insights: A quick guide

Consumer insights: A quick guide

Last updated

21 February 2023

Reviewed by

Hugh Good

Marketing has changed a lot over the last few decades, particularly regarding customer expectations. According to Insider Intelligence, more than 73% of today's customers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations. Another 62% responded that companies should also be able to anticipate their needs. 

If you’re wondering how you’re supposed to read your customers’ minds, we’ve got great news for you. Consumer insights are about to be your best friend.

These insights provide a deep understanding to improve your customer experience in every way possible. Whether creating relevant products for their needs or tailoring your promotions to their requirements, consumer insights can help you nail your customer experience. 

Keep reading to discover the endless possibilities of valuable customer insights. Learn more about what they are, why they’re important, and ways you can leverage them in your business.

What are consumer insights?

Consumer insights are also known as customer insights. You collect data on your brand’s target audience to analyze for a deeper understanding. It’s a great way to discover how people think, feel, and behave. These insights can help you improve your sales, products, and marketing efforts. 

What are examples of customer insights?

Insights can come in a variety of formats:

Social media

You could make a post on social media comparing two prototypes in development. Asking which customers prefer will lead to consumer insights in the comments. 

A/B testing

By comparing two prototypes and monitoring metrics for valuable consumer insights, you can learn if consumers behaved differently for A compared to B. You can also uncover why.

Surveys

You could also survey customers directly. Ask them what they do and don’t like about your business, areas for improvement, and what they want to see from your company. 

Check out competitors

Research competitor sites and see what customers have to say about their experience. Are there common customer complaints that provide your brand with an edge?

A real-world example

Activia's 2017 campaign, 'It Starts Inside,' is a prime example of consumer insights strengthening marketing. 

They carried out research with GlobalWebIndex, discovering that 80% of women 25–55 believed they were their own worst critics. With this knowledge, Activia launched a series of rebranding ads to empower women to overcome their inner hurdles and achieve their full potential.

They also donated $250,000 to Girls Who Code to further support female empowerment. The campaign was a success thanks to its foundation in consumer insight.

“The results were tremendous, with Activia walking away as more than a yogurt; a brand that helps women inside and out.”

What are good customer insights?

The interpretation of customer data can vary widely from company to company. To ensure your customer insights are as valuable as possible, always support your insights with evidence and be very clear and concise in your details.

Why are consumer insights important?

Your customers are the reason for your business and product. Therefore, they should be at the center of every decision your brand makes. Although most brands think they know what their customers want and need, the results are often disastrous. Only your customers know their exact needs and desires. 

You can support and inform your business efforts with more than a 'gut feeling' when you use direct insights from your consumers or research on your target audience. Valuable insights give your brand the knowledge and understanding to maximize the customer service experience and satisfaction while reducing customer frustrations.

After all, research shows that more than 71% of people expect tailored interactions from brands, and 76% cite being 'frustrated' if it doesn't happen. Consumer insights are the only way to deliver on those expectations. 

Benefits of harnessing customer insights

According to Microsoft, brands that leverage customer behavior and insight in their business decisions experience 85% more sales growth than their counterparts. This is because consumer insights can benefit you in the following areas:

  • Customer loyalty and customer retention: Buyers prefer companies that know and understand them.

  • Product quality: The better you know your audience, the better you will be at creating and improving products to suit their needs in your product development strategy.

  • Customer service: About 90% of U.S. consumers cite customer service as a deciding factor on who they purchase from, and insights support the best ways to improve the experience.

  • Customer satisfaction: Customers are more satisfied with brands that create valuable products and experiences specific to them.

  • Informs customer journey maps: Insights can improve your customer journey mapping with more supportive data. 

  • Personalized customer experiences: The desire for personalized experiences is increasing every year, with the number of marketers reporting tailored expectations from customers growing from 85% to 92% in two years

  • Boost customer engagement: Whether on social media, your website, or in ads, knowing what elicits a given action for your customers can help you improve engagement and build a more meaningful consumer relationship.

How to gather customer insights

There are dozens of ways you can gather key customer insights. Some of the most popular include the following:

  • Qualitative insights: Observational studies, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and ethnography

  • Customer feedback insights: Surveys, emails, social media, and customer analytics like Google Analytics and digital footprints

  • Third-party data insights: Data that you share or buy from outside of your organization

  • Insights into customer sentiment: This KPI uncovers how customers feel towards your brand, which you can determine with ratings, reviews, recommendations, shares,  mentions, and comments. 

How to strengthen your marketing efforts with customer insights

Customer insights are crucial in marketing because they help your team determine the best places, times, and tactics for reaching and resonating with your audience. In turn, this maximizes your marketing budget by ensuring you’re only leveraging the most relevant efforts on the right channels. 

Inform your customer journey

First and foremost, valuable insights strengthen your understanding of the customer journey. The mapping process requires in-depth knowledge of the buying process, user actions, emotions, pain points, solutions, and more. Having good data and actionable customer insights into these categories allows you to fill out your visual representation as much as possible.

As a result, you gain a competitive advantage because you're in a position to drive better results. LinkedIn reports that 67% of customer experience experts mention that their business uses customer journey mapping, and 90% say that it delivers a positive impact, increasing customer satisfaction.

Personalize your marketing

Personalization is no longer just nice to have. It has become necessary for better customer experiences and interactions at every touchpoint. According to Forbes research, personalization is critical in every area of marketing:

  • Email marketing: 70% of millennial respondents voiced frustrations with brands that send irrelevant emails.

  • Company website: Website content that you haven’t personalized to your audience frustrates 74% of consumers.

  • Offers & recommendations:91% of people say they're more likely to buy from brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations. 

  • Ads: Basing ads on the activity of a site user increases product revenues by 38% or more.

Those are just a few examples of the importance of knowing your audience to better provide them with a customized experience. The Forbes report also noted that 90% of U.S. consumers cite marketing personalization as 'appealing.'

No one knows your customers better than they do, so tap into a valuable resource and ask them how they feel about your brand’s offerings. While feedback can be scary, implementing consumer insights can boost customer satisfaction, resulting in a healthy uptick in sales and recommendations.

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