Get on Top of Your Consumer Insights: The tools you need to succeed

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“80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.” It’s a statement that’s decades old and well referenced by top marketers (including Seth Godin), but it’s not really any good to you if you don’t know what that 20% of your customers actually want. On the bright side, it’s the digital age. We have more consumer data available to us than ever before thanks to Big Data. Analyzing and utilizing this bottomless well of information should make progressing your business far easier than ever before, right?


Unfortunately, more marketers and businesses say they find it consistently difficult to identify their consumers and what they want. This is where consumer insights tools come into play. You need to know the right steps forward:

a. Accessing your consumer insights;
b. Understanding your consumer insights; and,
c. Creating actionable tasks based on your consumer insights that will really make a difference in your business.

But, how do you know which ones will work best for you in your particular industry?

Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our list of the top consumer insights tools you should be using to help develop your consumer insight. The bonus? These are going to work regardless of what industry you’re in!

1) Forum Discussions

Forum discussions have been around for decades now. While you might dismiss them as old-fashioned, you’d be wrong to do so.

“The main advantage of online forums is that you are able to directly engage with your customers by answering their questions,” says John Rampton, an entrepreneur and online marketing guru, in his article for Forbes.

Forum discussions allow you to pose questions directly to your community and leverage their answers to help you build fantastic consumer insights.

Also, check out this article on 5 Ways to Get Valuable Consumer Insights from Your Community!

2) Surveys

analyzing data obtained by consumer insights tools

Customers are conditioned to respond to poor service. Nearly all customer service training and research focus on ‘service recovery’–basically what to do when a customer makes a complaint. As a result, many surveys will only fill your inbox with negative feedback.

On the flip side, when conducted well, surveys can actually influence consumer loyalty, as Paul Dholakia and Vicki Morwitz found in a field experience with over 2,000 customers. In their article for the Harvard Business Review, they report on their findings.

Essentially, they divided the 2,000 participants into two groups–one group was surveyed about their satisfaction with a particular company and the other group wasn’t. After a year, they looked at consumer behavior.

Those who were surveyed were three times more likely to have taken up other products with the company and less than half as likely to have moved to another business. Additionally, they were much more likely to provide profit to the business than those who weren’t surveyed.

So, the next time you’re thinking a consumer survey will only lead to tears, you might want to think again!

Want to know more?  This article might help: Top 5 Reasons to Convert Your Customer List into an Insight Community.

3) Idea Contests

You only have to take a look at platforms like Kickstarter (where ideas compete for funding) to see how much these types of competitions drive engagement.

Utilizing your consumers’ ideas through a competition can be a great way to get some insights into what you could be doing better. Hosting it as a competition and rewarding your consumers not only generates a buzz, but it also increases brand loyalty.

It’s not just the results that can help you with your consumer insights–the competition process is pretty valuable too.

In our experience, after companies design and execute one competition, they often gather the important data and ideas they’ve learned to use in subsequent competitions,” says Anil Rathi, founder of Innovation Challenge. “As this process plays out, the greatest benefit may be for the hosts of the contest, since they learn they can cultivate great ideas over time.”

Read this article: Building a Social Community around Your Brand to find out more about this topic!

4) Polls

laptop showing consumer insights tools

Aside from surveys, which are often more in-depth and rely on consumers responding retrospectively, polls are a great way to get real-time feedback.

They’re short, sweet and snappy, and consumers can instantly provide you with insights at the click of a button.

With real-time responses come real-time actions: Insights gained from real-time experience tracking (RET) can be acted on immediately—a great advantage in new product launches or marketing campaigns conducted in fast-changing environments,says Emma Macdonald, research director of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum in her article for the Harvard Business Review.

Related article: Exporting Online Community Data for External Processing

5) Personal Diaries

(And, we’re not talking about the wistful, fanciful entries of a teenage soul, here!)

Using consumer experience diaries is a great (and cost-effective way) to gather personal and unbiased data that can help inform your decision-making.

Using online, guided diary formats for consumers enables you to set tasks and make requests to specific individuals and set timeframes for them to complete them in.

This is perfect for finding out what your consumers really think about that upcoming product or promotion campaign ahead of time. You can avoid making the mistake of heavily financing a launch that would wind up not garnering much interest at all.

The research backs it up too: If you’re looking for a contextual understanding of user behaviors and experiences over time, it can be very difficult to appropriately create scenarios to gather these kinds of insights. Diary studies are useful for understanding long-term behaviors.” – NNG

The Nielson Norman Group conducts all kinds of research on user experience.

Now, you’re probably sitting there thinking that all this seems great but sounds like a lot of work. How do I even get started?

That’s where CMNTY’s Insights Community Platform comes in.

With CMNTY Platform you can build an online research platform for project-based or long-term studies – in less than a day!

It includes all of the consumer insights tools we’ve just been talking about:

5 consumer insights tools from the CMNTY platform

Now, you can gather and present qualitative results quicker than using traditional methods. Conduct your research studies with a tool that is simple yet powerful enough to grow with your needs.

Develop your thriving insights community!