The pandemic has forced marketers to look at consumer behavior like never before. To stay ahead of the curve, it is vital to understand how the virus has changed the way people shop, eat and interact with brands. This blog post will discuss some of the most critical consumer insights marketers need to know to succeed in today’s economy.
But first, let’s talk through some definitions.
What are Consumer Insights?
Consumer insights understand what consumers want, need, and think. It understands their shopping habits, purchase behavior, and conversation. This information can be used to improve a product or service, customer experience, and data-driven marketing strategy. Marketers use various tools to gather consumer insights, including focus groups, market research, interviews, observational studies, and social analytics. Essentially they are using integrated analytics.
However, consumer insights must be actionable. That means they must provide information that can be used to make data-driven decisions about products or services, content, messaging, communications, and marketing.
Another way to track consumer insights for a brand is to measure customer lifetime value. This metric has been used for years by companies and brands to forecast future revenue and customer acquisition goals. Customer lifetime value is calculated by estimating the total revenue a customer will generate for a business throughout their lifetime, minus the costs associated with acquiring and servicing that customer.
The Five Most Important Consumer Insights
So what are the most critical consumer insights you should be aware of? Here are five that I believe are essential:
Your target consumers’ needs and wants. This is a critical insight because it should reveal their emotional and rational sentiment towards the problem you are trying to solve.
Your target consumers’ fears and frustrations. It’s just as important to know what your target consumers are afraid of as it is to know what they want. Their fears and frustrations will likely influence their purchasing decisions, so you must be aware of them to address them accordingly.
Your target consumers’ values and beliefs. This insight will help you understand what motivates your target consumers on a deeper level. What do they believe in? What are their core values? When you align your brand campaigns with their values, you’re more likely to win them over.
Your target consumers’ media habits. Knowing what type of media your target consumers consume daily will help you determine the best channels to reach them through. Are they active on social media? Do they prefer reading blogs or watching videos?
Your target consumers’ purchase journey. Finally, it’s essential to understand how your target consumers make purchasing decisions. What are the steps they take from awareness to purchase? By understanding their journey, you can create advertising campaigns that guide them along every step of the way.
Each of these insights is important in its own way because you can craft your advertising campaign strategy more effectively when you understand what influences your target consumer to purchase a product.
How to Use Insights to Create Effective Advertising Campaigns
Now that you know the five most important consumer insights, how can you use them to create effective advertising campaigns?
Here are a few ideas:
If your target consumers are motivated by fear, address their concerns head-on in your advertising campaign strategy. There have been several award-winning campaigns in the past that lead with “Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt” or (FUD). Politicians do this all the time. Cybersecurity and insurance companies often leverage fear to motivate consumers to feel safe with messaging like, “protect yourself from identity theft.”
If your target consumers are motivated by wanting to feel part of a community or belonging to something, create ads that highlight the community aspect of your product. For example, if you’re selling a fitness tracker, show how it can help people connect with others with similar health and fitness goals.
If your target consumers are motivated by low prices and convenience, ensure your ad campaigns focus on those rational benefits. Consumers looking for bargains will likely respond well to ads highlighting special deals and discounts. And if convenience is important to them, ensure your messaging aligns with how your product can save them time to do the more essential things in life. Also, making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for on your website or in your store is a cherry on top of their customer experience.
For the B2B and tech brands, if your target buyer is motivated by speed, integration, and scale, integrate customer testimonials, industry validation, or software reviews into your creative campaign and messaging. Since the tech buyer journey can be 6-18 months, it’ll be important to have a multi-touchpoint campaign that reaches them at every stage.
By taking into account the five consumer insights above, you can create ad campaigns more likely to resonate with your target consumers, leading to brand awareness, conversions, sales, and customer loyalty.
Examples of Advertising Campaigns Using Consumer Insights
Many successful advertising campaign strategies have used consumer insights to create ads that resonated with consumers on a deeper level.
Here are a few examples:
The “Keep Britain Tidy” campaign by the UK government successfully persuaded people to change their littering habits. The ad campaign used the insight that people feel guilty when they litter and leveraged that to create a powerful message that resonated with UK citizens.
Another great example is Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ad campaign from 2009. This advertising campaign effectively differentiated Apple’s products from its competitors at the time, primarily Windows-based PCs. The ads used the insight that people want to feel relaxed and hip and highlighted how Apple products are more stylish than the competition. This resonated with consumers emotionally and helped Apple gain market share and own the market.
Lastly, the “Got Milk?” ad campaign by the California Milk Processor Board influenced Californians to drink more milk. The advertising strategy was informed by the insight that people often craved milk after eating certain foods. It didn’t hurt that they used celebrities in their ads to reinforce the messaging.
Emerging Consumer Insights, Post-COVID 19
In 2021, Kelsey Robinson from McKinsey spoke with WSJ’s advertising editor Suzanne Vranica about reshaping consumer insights from the pandemic. She talked about four major consumer shifts that will impact the market:
- Consumer spending is on the rise
- E-commerce accelerating the growth
- Rebalancing the “homebody” economy
- The shattering of brand loyalty
The pandemic has caused significant changes in the way consumers behave and shop. Let’s take a closer look at each of these shifts.
Consumer Spending is on the Rise
In response to the pandemic, many consumers have decided to spend their money on things that make them happy. This is known as “revenge spending.” Fifty-one percent of consumers are now splurging on fashion, apparel, and leisure travel. Higher-income millennials are outspending all other groups in this category.
This trend will likely continue in 2022 and beyond as people look for ways to cheer themselves up after a traumatic experience. Brands should consider tapping into this trend by releasing new products or campaigns that focus on happiness and self-care.
E-commerce is Accelerating the Growth of Retail
The pandemic has led to a 20 percent increase in online spending, with essential grocery shopping seeing a notable increase. This growth will likely continue in 2020 and beyond as more people become comfortable shopping online for groceries and other essentials.
Brands should consider increasing their investment in e-commerce platforms to take advantage of this growing trend. They should also develop strategies that make it easier for customers to order products online and pick them up in-store.
Rebalancing the “Homebody” Economy
Twenty-eight percent of consumers invested in home gyms and stereo equipment during the pandemic. Thirty percent plan to continue this trend and invest in more “homebody” products.
This suggests that many people are looking for ways to stay home and avoid contact with other people. Brands should consider developing products and campaigns that promote staying at home and being comfortable in your own space.
The Shattering of Brand Loyalty
Forty-nine percent of Gen Zers have tried new brands during the pandemic. This means many consumers are no longer loyal to the brands they used before the pandemic. Brands should focus on developing values-based branding strategies to win over these consumers. They should also consider releasing new products and campaigns that align with the current zeitgeist.
How to Find Consumer Insights
I use a few resources to keep up to date with consumer behavior, trends, and insights–eMarketer, Resonate Gartner, and Global Web Index. As a marketer, knowing the latest trends and insights is essential to creating relevant content and campaigns.
eMarketer is a research firm that provides insights on digital marketing and advertising. They have a subscription service that offers access to reports, data, and analyst briefings.
Resonate is a company that helps brands understand their customers by providing customer insights and engagement solutions. Their solutions include surveys, focus groups, ethnography, and more. The top US brands are not just listening to their customers but also taking action.
Gartner is a technology research company that provides market analysis and forecasts for the IT industry. In addition, they offer subscription services with access to reports, webinars, and podcasts.
Global Web Index is a market intelligence company that provides insights into global consumer behavior across social media, mobile devices, the internet of things, etc. They offer both subscription services and individual reports.
One suggestion I might have to provide additional context to this report is to layer on a social media data analysis. This will allow us to analyze what they say they care about on a survey and cross-reference what they talk about in public and on social media.
How Can Social Analytics Be Used to Find Customer Insights?
Using social data to analyze consumer insights is a process that can be used to answer important questions about your customers. It can help you understand their behavior, preferences, and needs based on what they do and say. With primary research, the data relies upon how they answer a question. This approach is more about behavior, conversation, and action.
This process begins with collecting data from social media channels and cleaning and organizing it. You can also apply keyword filters to find specific topics they are talking about, the sentiment and emotion, or how they feel towards a brand.
The data can be analyzed against another audience or the general population to find unique insights.
There are several ways that social media data can be used to find consumer insights:
- Analyzing conversation volume and tone to identify positive or negative sentiment around your brand or product
- Tracking keyword mentions seeing what topics people are talking about concerning your brand
- Segmenting customers based on interests, demographics, and psychographics to see how they differ from the rest of your audience
- Comparing engagement rates (likes, shares, comments) for different content types (blog posts, videos, images) to see what resonates with your audience
- Looking at customer behavior (clicking through to your website from social media, filling out a lead form) to see how they interact with your brand online
There are countless ways that social data can be used to find consumer insights; the above are just a few examples. By understanding what your customers are talking about, you can create content and marketing campaigns that resonate with them and drive engagement.
And by analyzing how they interact with your brand online, you can better understand their buying behavior and preferences. So if you’re looking for insights into your customers, start digging into the data!
Using Primary & Social Research
The holy grail of consumer insights is when you can combine primary or secondary research with social analytics. The result is a comprehensive understanding of what people are saying about your product or service, what they think about it, and how that’s impacting their behavior.
You can use social media listening to understand what people are saying and how they feel. This data is precious for brands looking to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
You can better understand your customers and their needs by combining primary research with social media analytics. This information can help you improve your products and services, ensuring you deliver the most relevant, engaging content to your audience through an integrated PESO marketing model.
Q: Is there a difference between consumer insights and audience insights?
A: Yes, consumer insights are specific to your company, and audience insights are more general. Audience insights can be used to understand any group of people, while consumer insights are specific to the needs and wants of a particular customer base.
Q: Can social media listening be used for market research?
A: Yes, social media listening can be used for market research and understanding customers and their needs. It’s a versatile tool that can provide valuable data for research projects.
Q: How is consumer behavior different than consumer insights?
A: Consumer behavior is consumers’ actions about a product or service. Consumer insights are the motivations and intentions behind those actions. Understanding consumer behavior is essential, but understanding why they behave a certain way is even more valuable.
Q: Is there an equation to measure customer lifetime value?
A: A few key factors must be considered to calculate it accurately. These include the average purchase amount, the frequency of purchases, and the length of time a customer remains loyal to your brand.
Q: How do you measure customer experience?
A: Measuring customer experience can be tricky because it’s subjective. However, key factors can be used to track it, including satisfaction levels, loyalty rates, and Net Promoter Scores.
Q: Is the Net Promoter Score a valid data point to measure consumer insights?
A: The Net Promoter Score is a good indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction, but it’s not the only factor that should be considered. Other factors such as feedback on social media and engagement with content can also help you understand how customers feel about your brand.
Q: Is sentiment an accurate measure of consumer behavior?
A: Sentiment can be a good indicator of consumer behavior, but it’s not always accurate. It’s essential to look at other factors such as engagement with content and purchase behavior to get a complete picture.