How Customer Research Turns Insight into Impact

By Eliot Sykes, Managing Partner and Head of Consultancy at krow

As customer demands evolve, so must businesses adapt to retain both relevance and revenue.

Deeply understanding consumers will empower organisations to deliver on their expectations. Technology is a key enabler here, driving efficiency and effectiveness around gathering data, pulling insights, and creating real business impact.

Proactivity is essential. While marketers may think they know their audience, it is an ever-changing landscape. Organisations should implement strategies that reassess their market proposition against audience preferences to ensure consistent and effective engagement.

A comprehensive approach to customer research can help achieve this. And while research can be costly, it does not have to be. Done correctly, not only will it be cost-effective, but the return on investment will be greater. Understanding every aspect of consumers depends on good research practices and principles, including three core elements: intelligence, innovation, and integration.

Customer research produces actionable insights

Research produces insights, which lead to impactful advertising and marketing – it is the foundation upon which successful campaigns are built. But to use insights, you need to be clear on what they are.

Often subtle and nuanced, insight is built on a solid understanding of data-derived information. This takes time, analysis, and interpretation to develop.

Insights tell us why something is happening, rather than what is happening. They burrow underneath the surface and enable us to connect with audiences in more meaningful, distinctive, and relevant ways.

Used by brands in the right way, insights can help identify an issue and deliver the solution – demonstrating to customers that brands ­really do know them and provide what they need.

This helps foster trust and loyalty between consumers and the brands that serve them.

Barriers to success and how to overcome them

With all the methodologies, techniques, technologies, and data points that promise to unearth insights, there are three main problems marketers should consider when undertaking customer research:

  • Picking the right methods to deploy.
  • Managing these methods in a coherent and efficient way.
  • Assembling, consolidating, and integrating all sources to provide a joined-up, intelligent view of the consumer (from which bigger opportunities will arise than from any individual source standing alone).

To overcome these barriers, organisations can implement a purpose-led customer research model to capture, and act on, accurate data that reflects audiences in their entirety.

Start by gathering intelligence. Leverage data analytics to get valuable information from social media, feedback, and industry trends. This can be used to understand customer behaviour, identifying patterns and preferences that will help inform decisions.

The next step is to innovate. Consider adopting emerging technology, like AI and machine learning, to forecast trends and develop forward-looking insights. Businesses should also encourage collaboration, applying people’s diverse skillsets to explore new solutions for customers.

Finally, integrate. Consolidating data from different channels and sources will provide a holistic customer understanding. Marketers should also align with broader business objectives to drive real, impactful results.

Create better consumer outcomes

What people say in focus groups can be very different to what they do in real life. And while a net promoter score, for example, can indicate how satisfied people are, it does not explain why.

All research techniques are subject to limitations and biases, so organisations should consider them carefully. The more thoughtful businesses are when choosing and implementing new research strategies, the more effectively they mitigate risk.

Any effort a business makes to better understand its customer base is welcome. It is not a simple or easy process, but those companies that strive to know their audience will serve them better – delivering what they need, when they need it.

Customer research is customer-centricity

Customer-centricity may be a tired buzz word, but that does not negate its importance.

Understanding consumers is the foundation of effective marketing, not just a strategy. It is crucial for every team to collaborate and grasp the significance of research to enhance the impact of their work.

For instance, when creatives lead with insight, campaign messages resonate more deeply. Similarly, more precise and relevant campaigns prepare service staff to meet and surpass expectations with empathy and awareness.

Some research methods can produce conflicting, biased, or misleading outcomes. A thorough and comprehensive approach, coupled with an in-depth understanding of audiences from every perspective, is essential to uncover an accurate picture of what customers want.

Empathy underpins everything, and human connection is not diminished by technology. A touch of humanity enables us to convey messages that resonate with audiences, something technology has not yet mastered. The instinct and human understanding that turns data into insight ultimately stems from people – which enables marketers to create meaningful campaigns that convert engagement to sales.

Got a Question? We’ve Got Answers.