The What, Why and How of Consumer Insights in Marketing


In marketing, it can feel that you’re retreading over well-trodden ground. You’re appealing to the same target demographic in the same way, using the same tried-and-tested techniques as every other marketer out there. What is there to distinguish you from your competitors? That’s the continual challenge.

Consumer insights are the key to breaking out of the marketing humdrum and finding a new fresh way to connect with your audience from a new angle.

Maybe those assumptions you have about your customer base are unfounded, maybe there’s a whole segment of your audience that you haven’t acknowledged or capitalised on.

In marketing, consumer insights are the difference between talking at your customers and communicating with them. Ever felt patronised by a promo or pigeonholed by an ad? These are examples of marketing efforts that fail to connect and fail to land with your customers.

A bit of extra knowledge about who you are talking to, and greater precision in your targeting can take your marketing strategy from misjudged to on-point.

So, what exactly are consumer insights? How do you gather them? And how can that information power your marketing strategy? Read on to find out.

What Are Consumer Insights?

Consumer insights are the result of carefully evaluating qualitative and quantitative research regarding your existing and potential customers.

Insights are not the data points themselves, they are the conclusions you can draw from the data from your research.

Consumer insights and research and analysis can be conducted in-house by your marketing team or by a hired agency. Whoever’s job it is, you need to make sure that you have the correct tools and/or personnel with high proficiency in data analysis.

Why Are Consumer Insights Useful?

The general purpose of consumer insights is to inform your business decisions. It takes the guesswork out of understanding what your consumers want, and how they’ll react to your marketing messaging or product development decisions.

There are two main ways consumer insights help:

  1. They can either confirm or disprove assumptions you have over your customers. You might think you know what your customers need and want, but have you put those assumptions to the test? Maybe you’re basing your marketing strategy on a false narrative, or you’ve overestimated the number of your customers who can relate to or are interested in your messaging.
  2. They enable you to hone in on the psychographic and behavioural distinctions between the different segments of your audience.

You’ve segmented your audience by their demographic traits (age, location, sex, etc.) or even by their behaviour on your website (page visits, purchases, time spent on each page) but this does very little to explain their needs and wants.

Customer insights can help you get to the root of what makes different segments of your audience tick.

How to gather Consumer Insights for Marketing

Before gathering data for your consumer insights you need to know what your goal is. The aim of consumer insights is to be able to use the information to take action and advance your marketing, sales or brand strategy.

There’s no use sifting through a ton of research without first knowing what you’re trying to find. Start with an assumption, and then prepare to have that assumption challenged by your results.

Now it’s time to start gathering data for analysis.

1. Customer Feedback Surveys

One way to find out what your customers need and want is to ask them straight through a customer feedback survey.

If you choose this option, make sure to include a mixture of quantitative and qualitative questions. Surveys can be restrictive and using this method alone, you’re unlikely to uncover the root out that other methods uncover.

Another challenge to using this method is that customers may not give you the full picture, providing the minimum required to complete the survey. Incentivised customers might also give you positively skewed feedback.

2. Customer Interviews

Compared to customer feedback surveys, customer interviews give you a more in-depth and less derivative set of results. Thanks to video conferencing, face-to-face (or Zoom-to-Zoom) interviews are more accessible than ever.

The benefit of an in-person interview with open-ended questions is that it’s easy to encourage respondents to speak openly, honestly, and in-depth about their experiences and opinions.

The challenges are that it’s time and resource-intensive to collect this data with a sufficiently large sample size, and analysis of qualitative data is also a challenge… at least for mere mortals.

AI text analysis has advanced tremendously, and now there are tools available on the market to automatically analyse and derive insights from any qualitative data. Simply feed your interview transcripts into the tool to extract relevant and meaningful insights from your full data set within minutes.

3. Social Listening

There is an unfathomably large amount of data out there. It’s estimated that by 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be created every day. That’s 463 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes each day globally.

Social media is chock full of detailed, qualitative data about your brand, your competitors’ brands, and your target audience. The beauty is that it’s all free and easy to access. The challenge is finding a text analysis tool that can turn vast amounts of qualitative data into useful insights.

This is where the Symanto Insights Platform excels. The Symanto Insights Platform is connected to 75 online portals including review sites and social media channels. You can also feed in any data set that contains unstructured textual data (for example from your CRM platform) in the form of an excel or csv file.

Within minutes the Symanto Insights Platform will structure the data into intuitive and easy-to-analyse data visualisations. Discover what your customers (or potential customers) are talking about and explore conversations online based on topic to get a real understanding of each issue discussed online.

What separates the Symanto Insights Platform from many social listening tools is its ability to provide insights into the psychographic profile of the authors. What drives them? What communication styles will they respond best to? The Symanto Insights Platform gives you the consumer insights necessary to perfect your marketing messaging.

Whichever option you chose, remember that the answer to finding truly useful and pertinent insights is to a) know what it is that you’re looking for and b) look for quality insights that tell the story of who your customers are and what they want.

To get started with the Symanto Insights Platform or to find out more, get in touch or book a free personalised demonstration.