The most successful businesses (regardless of industry) all have one thing in common: They put the customer first.
Their products and services are customer-centric. Their customer experience is seamless and top-notch. And they develop marketing strategies around the trends of their audiences.
How are these companies able to do all of this effectively at the speed of the market?
They continuously gather and act upon consumer insights.
So let’s dive in and explore the what, why and how of achieving business impact through consumer insights, including the ways our Vesta Community Platform has been designed to help you tap into them.
What Are Consumer Insights?
Consumer insights stem from effective market research work. It is information gathered from your customers that can help further develop your marketing strategy, customer experience, or product development. Consumer insights can take the form of consumer behaviors, analytical data, and feedback.
Why Are Consumer Insights Important?
Overall, the purpose of consumer insights is to allow businesses to dive deeper into how consumers think and understand how they can create the best possible customer experience.
The power of collecting consumer insights can provide benefits to nearly every aspect of your business, including:
- Gaining validation for investments in new products or services, packaging, and creative
- Enhancing and improving existing products or services
- Developing your marketing strategy
- Creating accurate and detailed customer personas
- Delivering more personalized customer experiences
- Accurately mapping the customer journey
- Anticipating consumer trends to stay ahead of the curve
Consumer insights help remove a lot of the guesswork involved in the decisions you make. What better way to improve your products, consumer experiences, and marketing than gathering the data directly from the source?
How Can You Gather the Most Effective Consumer Insights?
Knowing the importance of gathering consumer insights is nice and all, but how do you actually collect the data?
First, it helps to understand that there are two types of consumer insights: primary and secondary.
Primary consumer insights involves actively collecting information and data and can be defined as quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative includes research activities such as surveys, charts, and statistics. Qualitative comes from ideas, feelings, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.
Secondary consumer insights are acquired by working with data and information that is already collected and available, such as trade publications, media sources, or product reviews. Secondary data can be quantitative or qualitative.
There are numerous methods and channels you can use to gather consumer insights. Larger companies with internal research teams can choose to handle this in-house, while smaller companies may outsource to a research agency or firm.
PRIMARY CONSUMER RESEARCH
Analyzing how customers interact with your product, service, or website can help gather consumer insights. There are several tools you can use to collect and analyze customer behavioral data, including:
- Sampling programs
- Social media dashboards
- Your CRM
- Keyword research tools
For brands offering an online service, you have even more options at your disposal, with the ability to analyze how consumers are using specific parts of your service such as analytics tools like Google Analytics and heat mapping software.
Customer Feedback Surveys
Feedback is one of the more commonly used methods for collecting insights. After all, if you want more information on what customers think, why not ask them directly?
You can deliver surveys using several different channels, including:
- Social media platforms
- Email marketing
- On your website
- Your online brand community
Be careful, though. Customer feedback surveys shouldn’t be the only tool you use to collect consumer insights. Customers may not give you the truth, or they may not be willing to provide enough relevant information for accurate data.
Customer Sentiment Surveys
Instead of the in-depth nature of a customer feedback survey, sentiment surveys offer more broad consumer insights. Running a sentiment survey, such as a quick rating system or even an NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey, allows you to see how your customers feel about your brand overall.
Shopper research is focused on the in-store and near-store behavior and experiences of consumers. In particular, it studies the influences and factors within the retail environment that shape your consumers’ perceptions and buying behaviors.
A/B testing can help gather consumer insights based on how consumers react to certain aspects of the brand experience, such as your website creative or ad copy.
Using your website as an example, you can optimize by testing different elements and see which element choice yields the best success (lower bounce rate).
Social Media Listening
You can gather a ton of valuable insights from social media, where consumers love to bring their complaints (and praises) about brands.
Social media listening gathers data across social media posts to monitor things like brand sentiment.
Applied Consumer Neuroscience
Applied consumer neuroscience uses methods such as eye-tracking and facial coding to reveal their non-conscious decision-making. In other words, it provides insights into sentiments and behaviors that consumers aren’t aware of that have a major influence on their choices.
SECONDARY CONSUMER INSIGHTS CHANNELS
Brand reviews are incredibly helpful for consumers, with the majority of customers choosing to read reviews before making a purchase.
Brands can use reviews to gather consumer insights as well. By monitoring online reviews, brands can get more information about potential product issues or customer service experiences.
However, like feedback surveys, reviews can be difficult to use on their own since not all consumers will leave honest reviews. Supplementing your findings with insights from other channels will greatly increase their effectiveness.
It can be helpful for newer brands in particular to analyze market research conducted by larger brands. By understanding the pain points of these consumers, you’ll be better equipped to create effective marketing campaigns and develop products that your customers will want to purchase.
How Vesta Can Help With Consumer Insights
All of the above methods are effective ways to gather consumer insights.
But what if you could collect primary consumer insights using a single platform for greater speed, ease, and value?
With Vesta, this scenario is not only possible, but it’s easier than ever. Vesta’s online brand community platform gives you all of the tools you need to gather consumer insights and reap the rewards of collecting actionable data, with engaging insights activities your audience will want to participate in.
Where Vesta really shines is the speed and efficiency of gathering data. Brands can’t wait several months for actionable data. Vesta gives them the opportunity to collect data quickly and act on insights in record time.
Let’s look at an example: DSE Healthcare.
DSE Healthcare uses Vesta’s robust research-gathering capabilities to capture important consumer insights to further their product innovation and marketing strategies through surveys, discussion boards, and more.
When they were developing a new product, DSE Healthcare was able to leverage their community to confirm the naming of their new product in just one week’s time. Not only did they save time, but they also saved big on immediate spend for research, and in longer-term product viability with the validation of their new product name before launch.
Sir Kensington’s, a Unilever brand, is another example of a brand using their Vesta community to gain insights from their consumers.
Using Vesta’s platform, Sir Kensington’s has tapped into zero-party data insights using surveys, polls, and other engagement activities. They’ve conducted focus groups to better understand their consumers’ needs to direct product development efforts. And they’ve elevated their customer knowledge through brand sentiment and loyalty surveys. With this data, Sir Kensington’s better understands what resonates most with their audience.
Sir Kensington’s collected over 5,000 responses for their Eater Segmentation Insights Study and over 638,000 total survey responses in less than one year.
Consumer Insights Fuel Your Marketing Strategy, Product Development, And Customer Experience Improvements
Today’s business is all about the customer. To find success, you need to tap into what makes customers want to shop from you.
Gathering and analyzing consumer insights takes a lot of the guesswork out of this process.
From dialing in your marketing strategy to improving your product development, the rewards of tapping into consumer insights are nearly endless. With so many different channels to gather these consumer insights, you’ll be able to reap the rewards yourself.
Questions about Consumer Insights?
For more information on consumer insights or how Vesta’s Community Platform can help, reach out to us. We’re always here to help.
Interested in More?
Discover how to acquire new customers, drive loyalty, and gain consumer insights for your business in our “Four Steps to Creating a Winning Brand Community Strategy” eBook.