Everyone’s busy discussing the rise (and fall) of funded startups these days. While the ‘pundits’ are busy writing Twitter threads about the failure reasons, we all know the reason — most do not solve the problem customers have. More specifically, they do not have in-depth customer insights, examples, mentors, and case studies to sail through turbulent waves.
The result — they fail to stand out, attract customers and eventually lose their investors, too. Every business owner dreams of having a 100% accurate crystal ball or a fortune-teller who tells what their customer will love tomorrow.
But sadly, no one has yet built the magical ball. But one thing paves the way for the future — consumer insights. Consumer insights are not just about identifying trends or opportunities. It is more about being proactive in your approach.
Let us look at some ways to get proactive using prevalent consumer insights examples and see how other companies have been enjoying an edge over the competition.
What are customer insights?
You might have come across this buzzword before. But it is more than a fancy term for customer feedback.
Consider customer insights as a treasure map that can lead you to a great fortune — a delightful customer base, increasing revenues, and profitability.
Customer insights are an integral part of your market research process that covers what your customer wants, prefer, thinks, and does in their daily life.
Insights are not just about ‘specifics’; they also try to unravel the reasons behind their behaviors — basically the why behind actions.
When gathered effectively, consumer insights can help you pivot quickly, achieve a product-market fit, run successful campaigns, and make the most of your available resources.
Consumer insights examples that worked.
Companies have used customer insights for decades, most commonly for market research. But the scope is not limited to just the marketing function.
Consumer insights have helped businesses improve their product, make development decisions, optimize their current growth path, and more. Here are a few successful consumer insights examples from different industries:
Little Moon found their target audience after going viral on TikTok.
“Brands that listen to the voice of customers and act accordingly are the happiest of them all.”
Little Moon can vouch for the above statement, after they leveraged ‘virality’ on TikTok to listen and find their audience. They used this effect to profile their customers and discover the biggest spenders in the ice cream category.
According to their marketing director, Ross Farquhar, “Social media following projected that our audience was in late-teens or early 20s. But deep consumer profiling helped us understand that the decision-makers in our category were 30-year-olds with high disposable incomes.”
Little Moons used consumer insights from social media to create advertising campaigns across other platforms like TV. They specifically targeted 30-year-old shoppers with disposable incomes.
This was the simplest but one of the most useful examples of customer insights for a solopreneur that you can find online. You can also use the idea for your business — create TikTok, use it to find your audience, validate your audience through profiling, and double-down on your advertising on other platforms.
Bloom & Wild used market research surveys to uncover an unconventional insight.
Who would not like a red rose on Valentine’s day? If you think it is cliched, then you are right. But most brands still promote the idea of sending red roses on Valentine’s. Well, not Bloom & Wild.
Bloom & Wild is a flower delivery service better known for its famous No Red Roses Campaign on Valentine’s Day.
They hypothesized that selling red roses on a Valentine’s is not a sensible product decision. Competitors will compete on pricing, and there is little demand for it. But they wanted to validate their hypothesis and conducted a market research survey. Bloom & Wild came across the following consumer insights:
- 79% of people prefer to receive a personalized or thoughtful gift than a traditional red rose.
- 58% believed that gifting red roses on Valentine’s Day felt like a cliche.
These consumer insights were like striking a pot of gold for a flower delivery brand. They were able to improve their product and boost customer delight. Plus, their marketing campaign — No Red Roses campaign earned them a lot of organic PR during the busy season.
Coca-Cola’s bold product discontinuation move powered by real-time customer insights.
Coca-Cola first bought a minority stake in Zico — a flavored coconut water brand in 2009. After acquiring it entirely in 2013, Coca-Cola announced that it would discontinue the product line in 2020.
Zico was a part of the ‘Zombie’ product category, which did not grow for a period of 3 years. So, the beverage giant decided to use online conversation insights to make an informed decision. They tracked online conversations around Zico, Odwalla, Minute Maid, & Topo Chico product brands.
Tracking customer insights online helped Coca-Cola understand that Zico (along with Odwalla) had to go. They were not being ‘talked much’ about online (just 6% of total mentions of Minute Maid pulpy drink.
Yorkshire Tea leveraged consumer insight during product launch.
Yorkshire Tea launched a new Toast & Jam Flavor and announced it on Twitter. They did not expect it to blow. But a small reply by Piers Morgan, the TV broadcaster, led to a bucketload of consumer activity around the brand.
The banter about the displeasure soon became an opportunity for the brand as the conversation led to 1.6k engagements within hours. The reply blew up the online chatter about the company’s move to launch this intriguing packaging and flavor. Here’s what their online conversations chart looked like.
The company used also online social listening tools and sentiment analysis to see how consumers perceived their brand.
Sentiment analysis of the online conversations (and engagement) helped them realize what consumers want from them as a brand. This enabled them to fuel product innovation and decision-making further.
The online conversation created an awareness opportunity for the new product line and helped the company know ‘what people are thinking about them’. It is like killing two birds with one stone.
Apple’s Holiday Marketing Campaign (2016).
Apple has always been smart about utilizing deep consumer insights for making intelligent choices. During the 2016 holiday season, they successfully made a mark in their minds (and beat the competition) by listening to the voice of the customer.
Apple’s marketing team discovered that people were tired of ‘conventional’ hard-sell advertisements and promotions during the holiday season. Their consumer research told them to go offbeat and try something different. So, they created an ad in the heartwarming spirit of Christmas.
That year, Apple captured the top 5 spots for new device activations during the Christmas weekend, defeating Google & others. Clearly, the commercial powered by real customer insight did influence the buyers.
Powerful customer insights sources that you can start tracking.
Consumer insights are not limited to surveys, interviews, and questionnaires. When we are all connected on social, there are a million ways to track, collect, and analyze insights using technology.
Here are the most promising sources to get hold of customer insights for your business based on the examples we shared above:
Online reviews: Scan online reviews to know what customers think about your product or service. Use your GMB listings, marketplaces like Amazon, B2B review websites or other platforms to get deep insights about their likes, dislikes, expectations, and more.
Competitor reviews: Get insight into possible growth opportunities by tracking your competitor’s reviews. Discover the pain points your competitors need to solve and drive your development decisions for your own product.
Purchase activity data: Use your store or website activity data to discover how your customers behave (or shop) online to create an engaging sales funnel for your next offer.
Social media: Use social media platforms to see what people are talking about you, your brand, your industry, competitors. Scan the feeds for user-generated content around your product or service.
Customer service data: Track how customers are using your SaaS service (or online platform) to see where they get stuck, abandon a feature (or cart), or which feature they spend the most time on. Use the data to improvise and optimize your existing product and build a customer-driven product roadmap.
Case studies: Conduct customer interviews and try to unearth the most burning problems your product or service solves for them. Document these for future analysis and use them to improve your marketing pitch (or positioning).
How do I collect customer insights?
There are several ways to collect and gather customer insights. You can use the old-school approach of conducting market research surveys and customer interviews or use technology or tools like GapScout to gather consumer insights on autopilot. This will save a lot of your time, especially if you are a solopreneur who has yet to take advantage of growth opportunities.
What is an example of customer insight?
Imagine you are a travel agency. A very important customer insights example will be if you know that your target market prioritizes eco-friendly options in their purchasing decisions. You can use the ‘carbon footprint’ of flight options in your marketing collateral as a moat to attract your customers.
How do you use customer insights?
Once you gather and analyze customer insights, you will be better informed to make decisions regarding development, pricing, marketing, etc. Your judgment can be supported by data, improving your odds of success.
What is the difference between market research and consumer insights?
Market research is all about gathering and analyzing data to understand a market, while consumer insights specifically focus on understanding your target audience’s needs, wants, and motivations.
Next steps for gathering customer insights.
Ready to take your research one step further?
- Plan your market and consumer research strategy with a goal.
- Find the tools and resources to automate data gathering and analysis.
- Start analyzing insights (or use AI to automate the process).
- Identify and act on a viable business opportunity.
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