What are Customer Insights and Why Do They Matter?

Niraj Sharma |
 12/14/21 |
6 min read

What are Customer Insights and Why Do They Matter?

Your customers come with many nuanced behaviors, and taking the time to discover what makes them tick is worth the effort. Painting your audience with a broad brush is unwise. It leaves a lot to be desired in your marketing strategy, particularly when there’s a wealth of consumer insights floating beneath the surface. Uncovering subtle variations in your audience segments allows you to target your ideal consumer with precision and strengthen your brand through various use cases.

To that end, we’ll discuss what customer insights are and why they matter to your business. Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • What are customer insights?
  • Questions that customer insights can answer for brands
  • Customer insights in the real world

Customer insights reveal the unique attributes of your audience, so you don’t waste time targeting the uninterested. And since you know them well, it allows you to get bold with your messaging, knowing you’re hitting the high notes and connecting with your audience. Here are a few statistics that show the value of knowing your audience and generating a buzz about your brand:

  • 79% of consumers say user-generated content (UGC) significantly impacts their purchasing decisions. UGC generally persuades purchase intent more than influencer content or branded marketing.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 75% of US customers say they’ve tried new shopping behaviors for both economic reasons and shifts in personal priorities.
  • 61% of consumers are more willing to purchase from brands with unique marketing styles and content.

Customer insights give your brand the freedom to flamboyantly target an engaged audience and measure your success along the way. Let’s dive in and take a look!

What are Customer Insights?

Social listening allows brands to dissect the voice of the customer to reveal the underlying qualities found within various audiences – extracting “customer insight.” This, in turn, gives brands the ability to discern key traits of an audience, to learn who is discussing emerging trends or competitors – and why. And this can be used to tease out similar qualities to your audience and target those areas.

Conversational topics can be broken down in multiple ways to understand the consumer components driving the discussion. A few of the consumer insights available to brands include:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics (interests, attributes, emotions, etc.)
  • Channels and domains popular with an audience
  • Audience engagement within popular posts and media
  • Features, emotions, behaviors, and things driving sentiment
  • Hashtags, emojis, and slang favored by an audience
  • Trending terms, brands, and people
  • Authors, influencers, and KOLs at work within a conversation
  • Geolocation and timestamp data
  • Favored languages

Artificial intelligence extracts these consumer insights from feedback produced across the web in minutes allowing brands to get to the root of relevant conversation. Natural language processing (NLP) is the technology behind rapid-fire consumer insights that crosscut any online narrative.

Sample Tweet with analysis

These customer insights are aggregated from social media channels, blogs, forums, review sites, traditional news media engagement. And with the right data analytics tools, these same insights can be pulled from your internal datasets including, chat logs, customer service transcripts, surveys, focus group data, and any other consumer-oriented data you own.

Your Brand Has Questions – Customer Insights Provide Answers

Unfortunately, there’s no sense in holding onto a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy in terms of business practices. The digital transformation hit warp speed in response to changing conditions, and there’s no going back to the way things were.

In response to the fundamental changes in consumer behavior, the adoption of social listening tools for consumer intelligence has experienced rapid growth. And as brands seek to maintain relevancy, they’re seeing the fruit produced by brands adept at uncovering this intel. Here are a few of the questions that customer insights can answer for brands on a continual basis – and in real-time:

  • Who is talking about my brand, and what is their demographic profile?
  • Where are people talking about my product or service—on which channels, sources, and in which geographical areas?
  • Why do people buy my product or service? What need are they satisfying with their purchase?
  • How are people talking about my brand, and how are they talking about competitors’ brands?
  • What is my competitive share of voice—overall and in key markets?
  • What is the range of sentiment around my brand over time? How does sentiment for my brand compare to sentiment for my competitors’ brands?
  • How do conversational volume and sentiment differ when segmented by sources, channels, or product attributes (i.e., quality or pricing)?
  • How are people expressing sentiment in conversations that mention my brand and competitors’ brands?
  • What are the underlying reasons for positive or negative brand sentiment—what is driving emotions, behaviors, and other attributes emerging from conversations about my brand?
  • How is my brand’s owned media impacting conversation among key influencer groups or media contacts?
  • Who are my competitors’ advocates, and how can I identify and engage with them?
  • How are competitors’ positioning and messaging about their products?

These questions can be applied to various use cases, and the customer insights derived from them allow brands to apply their most effective strategies to their messaging. Let’s look at a few of the top use cases marketers are using consumer insights for this year.

Real World Marketing Applications

Marketing departments are tasked with being the public voice of your brand. As such, the focus of brand content depends on company needs in light of current events and consumer behavior. Our 2021 Global Consumer Insight Analytics Report surveyed over a thousand CEOs and marketing professionals who ranked their most pressing uses for customer insights, which we’ll share in ranked order.

Understanding the Voice of the Customer

This may seem redundant at first glance, but understanding subtle audience differences across conversations is simply an “aha” moment for many brands. Getting a firm grip on customer insights that surpass simple demographics and channel engagement blows open the doors to your marketing potential. Additionally, it’s the hub that leads to all the use cases that follow.

Inform Campaign Strategy

One of the first things brands notice when they uncover the nuances within their audience is the inefficiency of their previous campaign targeting. Precision consumer insights offer marketers a microscopic viewpoint of their audience, which allows them to reform their campaign strategy for maximum impact.

Monitoring Brand Health

Consumer perceptions and behavior can shift on a dime leaving uninformed brands going in the wrong direction. There’s no use spending your marketing energy on a product launch campaign when a PR crisis is brewing, or a trend is developing, carrying sentiment in a different direction. As such, communications professionals track customer insights to monitor their brand sentiment, so they speak to the issues relevant to their customer satisfaction and longevity.

Measuring Campaign Success

Eschewing vanity metrics, marketers worldwide overwhelmingly embrace customer insights to help inform their campaign success and ROI. 72% of respondents said that customer insight made their campaigns more successful than they would be otherwise. And this makes perfect sense since you can’t target an audience you can’t see.

Improved Customer Care

Thanks to the internet, brands are surrounded by vast amounts of consumer data. However, most of it is unstructured and flung into the vast reaches of the web. Social listening tools capture this consumer feedback and distill it into actionable customer insights so brands can discover what their customers want and need. Brands can then address the issues they find, and the marketing department can announce those initiatives to an appreciative audience. In short, consumer insights can help brands target struggles in any phase of the customer journey with precision.


Capturing Competitive Intelligence

Without detailed customer insights, brands are in the dark regarding their competition. Understanding what moves your audience allows you to target fence-sitters effectively and draw share of voice away from the competition. Staying tuned in to a competitor’s audience gives your brand an additional perspective when it comes to making the most of white space opportunities and capitalizing on unmet needs.

Community Management and Engagement

Building a vibrant online community around your brand is indispensable. Customer insights provide the catalyst to building one that your audience will flock to and support. Additionally, it’s an invaluable source of UGC when done right, which promotes your brand better than brand messaging and influencer marketing. If you know what they love, you can give it to them constantly and become a force to be reckoned with in your category.

These are just a few of the use cases we cover in our report, where we go into further detail backed by data. There’s no such thing as too much consumer intelligence, so check out our 2021 Global Consumer Insight Report and then reach out for a demo – we’d love to show you how our world-class social listening tools can transform your marketing potential in 2022!

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