Consumer Insights: What, How and Why?

How can you leverage customer attitudes, interests, activities, and behaviors to learn about their needs, motivations, and goals? The answer is through the development of consumer insights. It’s not enough to simply know what your customers are doing and how often they’re doing it. What’s more important is the why. That’s where you’ll find your most valuable insights. 

a person writing insight and a graphic of a lightbulb

What Are Consumer Insights?

Consumer insights are data, observations, or customer wishes. It’s not as simple as establishing patterns or tendencies. Real insights are gleaned from looking behind the curtain. To establish insights, you have to connect with your audience on an emotional level. 

In other words, you have to get to know your customers as more than just customers. You have to get to know them as human beings. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what drives them on a day to day basis. Think about their complex needs. What do you think made them choose to do business with you?

Once you have a fundamental understanding of the why behind consumer behavior, you’ll be on the right track to developing valuable insights. 

How to Develop Consumer Insights

While data on its own is not an insight, it’s your most useful tool for developing insight. Data is far and away the most valuable commodity on the market today, and has earned the moniker “the new oil.” However, the vast majority (>90%) of data out there is unstructured. For many marketers and small business owners, that means while there is copious data to sift through, much of it is out of context or unfocused. 

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Think of demographics, for example. You can collect infinite data on your customer demographics, but it’s not going to tell you anything significant. Sure, you might get a better idea of who your customers are, where they live, their backgrounds, employment histories, and familial status. But that doesn’t give you any direction for your marketing strategy.

That’s where psychographic data comes into play. Psychographics look at things like personalities, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your audience. While psychographic data is more difficult to collect, it gives you a much more accurate snapshot of who your customers are. 

Developing consumer personas, interviewing your customers, and sending out surveys are all valuable ways to gather psychographic data, but the best way to collect the most authentic information is to integrate yourself with your audience. If you can meet your target customer at his or her level, he or she is more likely to be honest and open. 

Remember, the more quality data you have at your disposal, the more tools you have to develop consumer insights. Furthermore, you’ll be able to develop more actionable strategies to appeal to what your customers really want. 

How to Tell if You’ve Made an Insight

The most telling attribute of an insight is whether or not it is actionable. You may find out something new or see things from a new perspective, but if you can’t leverage that newly found information to tweak your marketing strategy, it’s all for naught. lightbulb stock photo

Another telling sign of an insight is that it solves a real problem. That also means it gives you a clear statement of what to do next and how to deliver value. Insights should be the fuel behind your marketing ideation. They should help you understand how to position yourself best to appeal most broadly-and specifically-to your audience. 

Pay Attention to Your Customers

We tend to be hindered by our unconscious belief that measurable data is more valuable than immeasurable data. Hard, tangible evidence is worth more than hypotheses. Therefore, it’s important to try to gather data from both sides of the table. That means not only paying attention to your customers but empathizing with them on a personal level. 

To gather the most actionable insights, establish a system of collecting and analyzing the right data to ensure you’re on top of not only your customer demographics but psychographics. Always try to understand the why behind the behavior and actions of your customers and you’ll have a better shot at developing consumer insights.

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