Four ways to gather consumer insights

Consumer insights are an effective way of listening to what people say about a company or a brand. Market forecasting based on trends may have its benefits, but the chief aim of marketing is to appeal to consumers. It makes sense, then, to look at direct feedback from customers and leverage that information for effective consumer insights.
Smartphone user in France  What Are Consumer Insights?

Consumer insights are what customers have to say about products and services. Any place they might express their opinions, such as social media, review sites, eCommerce platforms, forums, customer service chat, and other consumer insights platforms are fruitful areas for harvesting direct opinions and criticisms that can be useful for marketing product development.

These user-generated texts can be located, collected, and analyzed using consumer insights software. Text analytics evaluate texts for a text’s emotional tone and determine whether it is mainly positive, mainly negative, or somewhere in between. This data inspires innovations and marketing that can raise brand prestige. Also, consumers’ negative views can provide insight into areas that need to be upgraded and improved.

Why Are Consumer Insights Important?

A product may have been developed, revised, tested, and upgraded, and the company may still not be able to replicate the customer experience. Until feedback from actual customers arrives, the product may seem perfect in the eyes of the company.

Customer insights provide clarity on whether a product or promotion is working or not. Also, it can zero in on specific features that need to be upgraded. These issues can be spotted before a product has a wider release by analyzing consumer insights on comments from a focus group or emails or written communications from a test audience. Also, consumer insights tools provide clues on improving communication with an audience and how to speak their language.

Communication is essential for a company because listening is as critical as telling a brand story. Sufficient give and take between a company and a customer base allows innovation from the bottom up and gives customers a stake in brand development.

For instance, some snack companies have asked customers to develop a flavor for their next chip offering or have a contest for naming their next type of ice cream. These generate interest and make customers feel like honorary members of the company. This fosters customer loyalty and encourages referrals.

The following are various ways to collect consumer insights:

Customer Surveys

Surveys are no longer necessarily pieces of paper left with the check at a restaurant or forms sent through the mail. Today, surveys are seen mainly on the internet. Subscribers to an email list may receive surveys periodically asking about a product or service. Also, when they unsubscribe they may be asked a few questions about why they want to leave the list.

Many surveys are the pop-up variety that asks for star ratings or a few questions about whether a customer service call was helpful or if the checkout process was satisfying. Star-ratings provide quantitative data for analysis, but asking for more detail on surveys can give a fuller picture of customer experience.

Surveys provide the advantage of asking customers questions that the company needs to have answered. Consumers post about a brand or products on social media, but they may or may not address the points that marketing or product development departments want to know more about.

Focus Groups

Focus groups allow companies to get in-depth responses from a selected group of consumers. Although the sample group is small and focus groups require a significant investment, they provide detailed replies, and the company representative and group members have an extended conversation about the brand.

Sentiment analysis tools can be useful in determining the attitude expressed in the text of focus group interviews. The interviews can be transcribed and analyzed as one would a review or a social media post. These tools assign an emotion and rating on each section of text and transform a discussion into useful consumer insights.

Hire a Market Research Company

Many companies want to focus on developing new products and running the day to day operations. It may be worthwhile for some businesses to outsource market research and hire an outside company. When hiring a market research company, it is vital to ensure the approach is suitable for company goals.

Ideally, the market research company should take a comprehensive approach. It should access secondary sources such as government and company reports, market forecasts, and financial trends.

It should also generate primary data from interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Online data sources are essential, and any market research company should analyze consumer insights derived from user-generated data.

Analyze User Generated Data

Social media posts, reviews, and comments on eCommerce sites are abundant and are renewed every day. The stream of user-generated data keeps flowing and provides endless marketing opportunities. Finding ways to capture this data and analyze it with sentiment analysis tools creates the kind of data that can revolutionize product upgrades and promotions.

There are several phases for transforming user-generated content into consumer insights. Software or apps send notifications when a product or brand is mentioned on social media or review sites. When these mentions are located, the content is scraped with a web scraper. While this scraping occurs, it is good to use a web proxy to hide the user’s IP address.

When these texts are cleaned and prepared, they are analyzed with consumer insight tools that give a rating on the text’s emotional tone. Advanced sentiment analysis tools can detect tone based on context and may be able to pick up on nuances.

A Wealth of Data

The challenge is not a lack of data. There are virtually endless sources of customer information. The key is which sources to collect the data and how to analyze it. Sentiment analysis tools eliminate the need to read texts individually and assign emotional tone based on phrases, words, and context. This process produces consumer insights that lend clarity to business strategies.