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Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Big Picture

How to Turn Consumer Insights into Action for Your Brand

Consumer insights are the fuel for brands. Marketing strategies without guidance from actual customers rarely yield fruit. The first step is listening to conversations about your brand. Consumer insights help brands attract customers and boost brand image.

What Are Consumer Insights? 

Consumer insights are the holy grail of marketing. Every marketer aims to predict the next significant trend successfully. The choice is to try to figure this out by analyzing past behavior, which may or may not be helpful, or finding out what customers are saying through a consumer insights platform. The latter is more effective because consumer sentiment drives purchasing decisions.

Consumer insights software promotes brand innovation. Whether a company is new or mature, there is always room for a fresh direction, especially with eCommerce competition becoming increasingly fierce. Data about what consumers like to do in their spare time, what they discuss on social media, their preferences and pain points provide a blueprint for innovation.

Data is the raw material for consumer insights. Data analytics and consumer insights tools process this data effectively. The first step is to identify, collect, and retrieve data for analysis. The following are some traditional and relatively new sources of essential data to produce consumer insights.

Focus Groups

Focus groups provide the advantage of literally listening to the voice of the customer in real-time. Traditionally, a group of people representing a cross-section of the consumer base is invited to participate in a question and answer session with a company representative. They may be given a product sample and be asked to comment on it. There is often some incentive to participate, such as modest payment or a generous discount.

The advantage of focus groups is that it provides direct interaction with customers. Companies that want to solve a specific problem or need a question answered can gain information with a detailed explanation. Surveys can sometimes yield one-word answers, but focus groups provide a real conversation about a brand.

The downside of focus groups is that participants can be influenced by each other. Without realizing it, they may tell the interviewer what they think they want to hear. Participants may allow themselves to be swayed by incentives as well.

Focus groups can be performed online, which can limit the influence participants may have on each other. Although this form of marketing research may have some limitations, focus groups provide value and can be used now and again to get more in-depth coloring to consumer insights.

Customer Surveys

Every day people are asked to fill out surveys. This may take the form of a pop-up survey that asks for a star rating or email surveys that ask for more information. Like focus groups, surveys allow customers to answer specific questions companies want to know, but without other people’s input. Surveys also do not negatively impact brand image the way the occasional critical review can.

Surveys can appear anywhere, after a sale on an eCommerce site or following a customer service chat with automated tools. Email subscribers may fill out surveys if provided an incentive, such as having their names entered in sweepstakes. The one drawback to surveys is the people who choose to fill them out may or may not reflect a typical customer, and they aren’t as scalable as other types of data. Still, they do provide significant material for consumer insights.

User-Generated Content

Unlike focus groups and surveys, there is no need to draw up questions and find people to answer them. User-generated content is everywhere on the web, from social media updates to reviews on the eCommerce site. USC’s advantage is that it is spontaneous and more likely reflects consumers’ direct feelings since they post voluntarily.

User-generated content may not be specifically about a specific brand. Still, even if its topics are hobbies, recreational activities, and even favorite movies, the information can help develop a clear picture of a typical consumer. Locating, retrieving, and analyzing USG is comfortable with AI tools that will also analyze the data and create actionable consumer insights.

Sentiment analysis is one effective way to understand collected data. Automated sentiment analysis tools interpret text created by consumers, whether they are surveys, reviews, or text from social media posts, and assign a rating measuring sentiment. This saves a massive amount of time reading every post or review and provides an overall sense of how consumers feel about the brand.

Collected and analyzed data can help your company do the following: 

  1. Know Your Customer
    After evaluating customers’ communications on reviews, emails, customer service chats, or social media, a brand will know which customers are their fans and lukewarm. Winning over customers is a good strategy, but in a sense, fostering customer loyalty is even more critical.

    A brand’s best customer saves on marketing because the most stable business is repeat business. It is a widespread tendency to build a sense of loyalty and to trust specific brands. Besides, encouraging loyal customers to leave reviews and refer a product to friends can be more effective than a fresh marketing campaign. Referrals still are more influential than many other promotions.

  2. Locate the Bottlenecks
    Every business has a bottleneck. Sometimes it takes a third party to locate it. Once a company gets into a routine, they may not notice delivery problems, clutter on a website, or the fact that customers are not crazy about a logo or slogan. Focus groups, surveys, reviews, and social media posts point out problems that companies may be too busy to notice.

    A business need not respond to every criticism, but if several comments are locating a specific problem, it is necessary to pay attention. It is hard to distinguish a large from a small problem unless feedback is scalable. Automated tools make it possible to retrieve more data for a greater sampling of customer feedback.

  3. Know When to Launch
    Product launches, like jokes, depending on timing, except that launches are serious business. A launch of a stellar product with the best marketing campaign can get ignored if it is at a time when people aren’t buying or paying that much attention. The peak interest times may depend on the industry, the product, and the brand. Getting to know customer patterns is essential for determining an optimal launch time.

    Analyzing social media posts can provide insight on when a company’s ideal customers like to buy. This may not be the same time as everyone else wants to shop. For instance, gardeners may be enthusiastic about seed or bulb buying offseason, and then it depends on what they are growing. Accessing customer data provides valuable information about the timing of a launch.

  4. Put Data into Action

    The adage “Knowledge is power” is true in the era of data-driven business strategies. Focus groups, surveys, and USG or user-generated content such as social media posts and reviews reflect consumer insights and attitudes about brands. This data can be instrumental for fostering customer loyalty, finding bottlenecks, and deciding when to launch a product. Consumer insights translate a great strategy into action.

Written by Efrat Vulfsons.

Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons is the Co-Founder of PR Soprano and a data-driven marketing enthusiast, parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance. Efrat Vulfsons is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on LinkedIn.
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