Businesses that understand their customers are far more likely to thrive. That makes sense. After all, if we truly understand somebody, we automatically have a better idea of how to communicate with them. And good communication offers a clear head start to success.
So how do we take steps towards understanding our audiences? The answer lies in research and insight. The combination gives companies better ideas, new perspectives, expertise and allows differentiation in an increasingly busy marketplace.
First off, nothing today stays the same for too long these days; research is key so that businesses can continuously adapt to shifting sands. Add to that the fact that customers have increasing choice, and it makes sense that companies who are proactively hunting for their point of difference are at a distinct advantage. Customers are also increasingly savvy - they don’t want to be sold to through pushy marketing - they demand more and have got used to a more personal touch across various media touch points.
Finally, the world just unexpectedly changed and will likely continue into unchartered territory; if there was ever a time for us to listen even harder to what people want, it’s now.
What is an insight anyway?
To gather valuable insights, businesses will analyse data and information, which come from a combination of primary and secondary sources.
Primary information is information a company has gathered independently from focus groups, surveys and the like. By contrast, secondary sources of information already exist – the bonus being that the company doesn’t have to proactively carry out research to find it. Think news reports and sales data. The downside of this sort of information is that competitors often have access to it, too.
Of course, the coronavirus has halted a lot of face-to-face research, but in many ways it’s taught us how to continue gathering knowledge without being in the same room. Most customers are now far more used to Zoom and Skype than ever before and the online aspect translates to cost efficiency and a broader geographical reach. Win win.
Armed with this information, companies have something solid to work with and can develop useful insights into exactly who their audience is, what they think and how (and if) they can leverage the truths they uncover.
- Successful insight looks like - Marmite - their customer research told them that some people actively hated their product. This might read like bad news to some companies, but at Marmite, they bravely chose to capitalise on this insight. Their subsequent campaigns have been so successful that ‘marmite’ has even entered our broader lexicon.
- Poor insight looks like - Harley Davidson - releasing an eau de parfum and quickly realising the pitfalls of not understanding their customer. If proper research and insight had come first, this product would likely never have made it past the starting blocks.
It’s time to start asking questions.
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