Consumer Insight: What Is It and What Makes It Work for You?
What is it?
Consumer insight (CI) involves observing human behaviors closely, interpreting those behaviors, and charting the way they are trending—and then using those insights to increase the effectiveness of a product or service for the consumer and increase sales for the company. We examine what’s happening now to predict and influence the future in a way that ensures that the interests of the customer and the brand intersect.
CI seeks to understand what motivates a consumer to care about a brand. Motivating factors include:
To put it simply, CI is what makes the consumer feel good about interacting with the brand. Brands need to continuously communicate with and satisfy their loyal customers in order to entice new customers.
What works and what doesn’t?
The analysis of demographics alone is no longer sufficient to understand consumer need. Jure Klepic explores this shift in “What Are Consumer Insights and How Do They Impact Marketing Effectiveness?” Researchers who provide consumer backgrounds must now turn to more detailed and deeper consumer-related information that can be shared and acted upon by all functional areas of the organization.
Keltic argues that when consumer insights are properly gathered directly from the consumer, people feel as if they have been invited into the decision-making process. Research into consumer insights gets into the nitty-gritty to figure out the “why” behind a consumer purchase and to predict what will happen in the future. Consumer insights gathered directly from the customer can provide a deeper understanding of the consumers’ changing needs and preferences, leading brands to effectively market on a more direct and personal level.
Real-time interaction works
Informal, real-time connections build relationships. Dana Rousmaniere, in “A Futurist Looks at the Future of Marketing,” discusses Gerd Leonhard, the CEO of TheFuturesAgency, and his predictions for the future of marketing. Leonhard stipulates that brands will try to gather quality data in order to understand how consumers perceive their images and predict how consumers will start conversations in order to change product features. He warns that brands can collect as much data as they want—however, the data alone will not suffice. Brands need to connect with their consumers at an emotional level. At the end of the day, if a product or a service isn’t humanized through real-time interaction, it will not sell.
Immediate response is crucial
Marketers agree that when the consumer and the brand interact, the immediacy of the brand’s response is key. Dirk Hulsman, in his 2014 article, “5 Trends Shaping Consumer Insight,” emphasizes that the brand must respond directly and immediately to what the consumer is saying. In order to properly respond, the brand must have instant access to quality customer insight—responders need to know what the conversation is really about. Brands that respond quickly to their consumers’ changing preferences are better equipped to create long-lasting relationships, thereby building a more profitable brand.
Consumer insight in today’s multi-channel market place is complex to track, and in order to get quality data it must be direct and in real time. If brands do not establish direct connections with their consumers and prospective customers, then product innovation stagnates, the bottom line is negatively affected, and they lose their place in the market—and possibly cease to exist. By taking the necessary steps to establish a connection with the consumer or, better yet, a relationship in real time, brands can be ahead of the game, be in the best place to listen to their customer, and produce the right products and services that connect with people at an emotional and human level.
How are you using, and how do you want to use, consumer insights to drive your development and branding processes? Share your questions and comments with us and your colleagues.
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