Consumer Insights- Understanding the Customers Better

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on December 14, 2015

In this highly competitive era, it is important to strike a chord with your target audience to succeed. That’s why “connect” with the customer has become essential. For this, the need of the hour is to understand the underlying emotions and motivations while your potential customer makes a decision to buy /not- buy your product. So, companies are in constant struggle to keep their product both relevant and differentiated. For this, they need to jump from the traditional market research methods to gain consumer insights.

What is a consumer insight?

To put in simple words, insight is the behavior that commonly exists but one is not aware of it. An insight is that useful information that is not so obvious. It explores the reason “why” certain behavior takes place. Traditional market research methods focus on bringing out the facts and figures to understand the perception of the consumers. But the analysis done on the data to study a trend is superficial information. An insight digs deep into the skin of consumer to understand the emotion behind the purchasing decision, what happened in the mind and then predict the future purchase decision. For example, Old Spice got an insight that about 50% of the men body care products were being purchased by women and hence the women chose the fragrance of their choice. This led Old Spice to come up with the “Smell like a Man, Man” campaign that was a great success story.

Image: pixabay

Gone are the days where companies used to invest a huge amount of money on mass marketing to execute the push marketing. Today, they are coming up with the innovative methods to promote their product through personalized marketing. Consumer insights provide a means to connect to the customer at direct and personal level. They also help companies to solve an existing provide.

How to gain insights?

The most popular method to gain insights is through Consumer Immersion. Consumer immersion involves a better understanding of business through the eyes of consumers. It endeavors to provide first-hand experience of how consumer thinks and act. Hence, consumer immersion becomes a powerful tool for gaining consumer insights. The real power of immersion programs is realized when it challenges the perspective of the people about who their customers really are and how they use their products. One of the techniques of immersion is Ethnography. Ethnography is a branch of anthropology that involves interpretation of people’s behaviors, customs, and habits through qualitative research.

Many companies use these methodologies to keep track of their customers’ needs and habits. The managers are forced to spend time with customers, talking and assisting them around the stores. The whole idea is to see the business through the eyes of the customer. P&G conducts a program for its managers where they have to live with customers to understand where and how their product is being used. Intel has been investing heavily and has a large number of corporate staff made up of ethnographers and anthropologists. Switzerland-based company, Credit Suisse promotes immersion program for its executives wherein they were once asked to spend a day in a wheelchair. This would enable to step in the shoes of disabled customers and better identify their needs. On similar lines, Adobe also has a customer immersion program for its executives that ask them to experience by being in the role of the customer.

All this leads to better understanding of customers and hence improves the product experience for the customer. Companies then deliver on the relevance and hence rewards get maximized not only in terms of profit but also customer interaction.

This article has been authored by Nayika Syal from IIM Udaipur


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