shutterstock_242078971What is customer insight – and what’s its purpose?

Let’s start with the ‘what’. Helen Edwards, brand consultant and columnist for Marketing Magazine, offers a somewhat candid breakdown of customer insight as “A revelatory breakthrough in your understanding of peoples’ lives that directs you to new ways in which to serve your customers better”.

As for the why: The core purpose of customer insight means understanding the deeper psychology of your customers’ buying habits and behaviours. How? By using ethnography, the systematic study of people and cultures, which is increasingly providing the answers to this question.

Quick case study: Pampers
Their research and focus groups found that parents of newborn babies sought leak-free nappies to keep their baby dry and happy.

Pampers had a ‘eureka’ moment after a deeper ethnographic study of parents and their babies revealed parents’ lack of sleep was due to wetness in their babies’ nappies – and that kept them awake and crying at night.

So Pampers created nappies with extra dry layers for bedtime, shifting the brand strategy along the lines of ‘Golden Sleep’ over competitor brands, and the rest is history.

Every brand wants their own ‘eureka’ moment, but this doesn’t go unnoticed for long. As brand guru Edwards explains, “The crucial point is that the revelation won’t stay yours forever. Competitors will arrive at the same nugget sooner or later”.

With that in mind, here are three essential tips to unlocking the mystery of your customer and getting some real insight.

Get quality data

The true quality of your target data impacts on the ability to identify key findings for behavioral analysis or predictive analysis. Make sure that your sources are reliable and credible – this is paramount to learning more about your customers.

Use data analytics teams

This is often key to understanding how your customers behave, or will behave in the future. This includes key areas such as demographic and behavioral profiling, which can be understood and researched by experts such as data scientists. You’ll then pull the curtain back on true customer insights into your brand or your market.

Consumer research: balance the hows and the whys

Conventional methods of data research can spot patterns in how customers behave, but without understanding why, such available research can be easily misinterpreted.

Using ethnography and conducting first-hand and detailed psychographic testing such as in-depth focus groups, interviewing profiles, sampling questionnaires and surveys can uncover the ‘why’ that matters to your brand.