Customer Insights Turn Observation into Action

How well do you really know your customers? Customer insights are crucial to developing marketing strategies, and are more than just pieces of information about the target audience. Customer insights tell us something new about the target audience, and reveal customer beliefs, values or wants/needs. They address the “why” versus the “what” and tell us something about the emotional driver behind an action, rather than identifying the action itself.

One great way to uncover customer insights is through one-on-one interviews. Hearing consumers share about their purchase decisions and why they made those decisions can often reveal key emotional drivers. When conducting customer interviews, it is very important that the customer feels comfortable and willing to share his or her thoughts and experiences. It is also important to ask the right questions. Most often, open-ended questions are better than closed-ended questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.” Determining the right people to interview is also an integral part of the process. During the “View From the Field™” portion of our Orange Label Approach™, we, along with our clients, carefully select our interviewees to ensure we learn the complete story behind a company or brand. From employees to customers to vendors, each audience is unique and can help us discover key insights.

Once you’ve conducted interviews, the next step is to determine a way to organize the information to easily identify trends. One way to do this is by tallying words or phrases that were used by different interviewees, and then format those tallies into pyramids. The pyramids can group the words or phrases together by how many times each was said. This format allows you to easily see the most common words or phrases used to answer questions and create observations and insights from those answers.

When analyzing data from research you have conducted, it is always important to keep in mind the distinction between Feature – Advantage – Benefit, what Orange Label calls FAB. Features are facts or characteristics about an organization, product or service. For example, in higher education, a feature could be small class sizes. This feature provides the advantage of more one-to-one attention from professors, which ultimately results in the benefit of boosted confidence and knowledge. Benefits are the most important part of this exercise, because they reveal the emotional drivers that powerfully influence choice. Uncovering and identifying benefits are the core value of customer insights.

Developing a successful marketing strategy often requires a deep dive into a customer or client’s overall experience with a brand. Obtaining customer insights through interviews is an effective way to get the full story. Once these key emotional drivers are organized and analyzed through the lens of FAB they can become the necessary tools for an insightful and engaging plan of action.

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