Since the dawn of commerce, sellers have invested significant time and effort into figuring out what influences prospective buyers. Identifying your ideal customer—who they are, what they do, why they do it, and how they feel about various products and services—can help you craft powerful, people-first marketing campaigns that accelerate every sales cycle.
Building a customer insight strategy is the most efficient way to understand that ideal customer, evaluate your brand’s current situation, and adapt for the future. Here’s how you can get started.
How to develop a customer insight strategy
To develop a customer insight strategy, you will need to focus on both qualitative and quantitative data. Gathering this information ensures you have a complete picture of who your ideal customer is, how they behave, and what their wants and needs are.
Identifying the key team players involved in the process and employing the right tools, techniques, and resources can take a lot of the guesswork out of building an insight strategy.
Why customer insights are important for business growth
Competitive advantage begins with clear customer insights. Without a comprehensive customer insight strategy, brands are bound to miss out on crucial data that has the power to significantly impact their bottom line.
A customer insight strategy can unlock a wealth of information about your customers and what influences their purchases. Through a combination of consumer data, feedback, social listening, and website analytics, you can begin to draw conclusions about how your customers behave and why. This knowledge can help you improve the customer journey and create an experience that is truly memorable for those who purchase your product or service.
Having a strong foundational awareness of customer insights is the first step to developing a strategy of your own.
Key components of a customer insight strategy
A clear understanding of why you want to gather customer insights can make developing a strategy easier. What is your reasoning behind gathering insights, and what do you hope to do with this data once you have it?
Maybe you’re hoping to increase revenue by a certain percentage next quarter or determine whether your current pricing strategy aligns with your competitors’. Maybe your ad campaigns aren’t converting like they used to and need to be refreshed. Or perhaps you’re exploring ways to optimize your current content strategy and attract a new audience. All these objectives can be achieved through a smart customer insight strategy.
Research and data
A viable customer insight strategy calls for a combination of high-quality research and data. From customer interviews and social listening to surveys and focus groups, gathering data about your customers’ preferences can help influence your marketing strategy and content creation.
This emphasis on first-party data is increasingly important as the end of third-party cookies approaches, but you may also consider responsibly sourced data from other vendors to add even more depth to your customer profiles.
Of course, high-quality data is of little use if there is no one to analyze it. A strong analytics team can help brands make sense of the noise and pull focus to the trends that matter most.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer insights. Before you can begin gathering valuable data, you’ll need to take a close look at which segment of customers you want to explore. For example, analyzing your current customer base will require a different approach than analyzing potential customers. Knowing whose insight is valuable in achieving certain objectives will ensure you use your time and resources as effectively as possible.
Keep in mind: customer feedback doesn’t always have to be about you to be useful. It doesn’t have to be gathered exclusively from your own customers, either. Finding out what people think about your competitors, for example, can provide a glimpse into what drives customers within your industry to buy.
Customer journey map
Data-driven insights have the power to affect every level of decision-making when creating and marketing a product. As you gather data about your target audience, it should help you build a better understanding of your brand’s customer journey. Leverage those insights to create or refine a map of customer interactions with your brand—that way, you can skip the guesswork when it comes to what messaging and offers your audience should get at every step of their journey.
For instance, if most customers hear about your brand through digital channels but make their final purchase in-store, your campaigns should facilitate that leap from online to offline interactions. On the other hand, if most customers interact with multiple digital touchpoints before buying online, you’ll want to use those insights to guide them from touchpoint to touchpoint.
Once you’ve thoroughly collected and analyzed your customer data, and determined what the typical customer journey looks like, you can take your customer insight strategy one step further to develop customer personas.
Personas are a means of clustering your customer base into distinct groups that share certain similarities. One persona group may contain customers who mostly have young families, live in the suburbs, and like to shop at brick-and-mortar stores; another may be digitally-native young professionals or wealthy urbanites. By honing in on the key customer insights that define each persona, you can tailor your campaigns to their unique interests and better personalize every customer interaction.
Sifting through such an enormous amount of data and unifying insights across platforms can be a huge endeavor. For some brands, off-the-shelf AI tools are the most straightforward way to enrich and make sense of all their customer data. Some of the ways they achieve this with AI include:
- Enhancing customer data with an identity graph to create detailed customer profiles
- Scoring leads based on how likely they are to purchase a product
- Predicting the lifetime value of potential or current customers
- Developing powerful quantitative persona groups
- Building lookalike audiences of good fits for use on any marketing channel
- Identifying which customers are at highest risk of churning
Just about every successful brand relies on customer insights to inform their decision-making. Once you’ve pulled together all the components of your customer insight strategy, you can review them holistically to determine which insights offer the most potential for your team to work with.
An effective customer insight strategy can take the pressure off your sales and marketing teams, improve overall customer satisfaction, drive customer retention, and increase profitability over time. There’s no question that it’s worth your team’s time to get it right.
At Faraday, we offer a number of customer insight tools that allow brands to enhance their first-party data with responsibly sourced, opt-in consumer data and develop powerful, personalized marketing campaigns. Visit us online to peruse our case studies and book a product tour!