For today’s SMEs, consumer intelligence is more important than ever. After all, never before have customers had so many shopping choices, so many channels to engage on, and so many brands trying to reach them.
In order to cut through this noise and connect with the consumer, businesses need to present the right offer to the right person at the right time. But how can businesses get actionable insights into what the customer really wants? And how can they use those insights to improve processes, reduce costs, build loyalty and increase customer retention? The answer: consumer intelligence.
Consumer intelligence is the process of strategically gathering and analysing information about customers in order to drive business improvements and build better relationships. Consumer intelligence eliminates guesswork and pre-conceived ideas about what the customer might want, and instead uses data to reveal bedrock truths about customer behaviour.
By looking at the right data, businesses can analyse consumer sentiment, evaluate and optimise marketing campaigns, personalise customer journeys, and even develop better products and services. Indeed, many of today’s most successful companies are using consumer intelligence to not only manage their customer relationships, but reimagine traditional processes.
Consumer intelligence refers to customer data that’s been collected from a variety of sources. Consumer insights are specific, actionable learnings that can be taken from that data. Customer insights are the end result of consumer intelligence.
Tapping into data to understand the needs and wants of your customers is a great way to add value to their experience. But we’re awash in oceans of data, and not all of it is useful. In order to leverage the true potential of consumer intelligence, you’ll want to create a roadmap for navigating the information superhighway.
Here are 8 tips for getting the most out of consumer intelligence.
Know your objective and identify what data will be most useful. Before you take a deep dive into your consumer data, know what you’re looking for. Look at what information will help you make the most impactful improvements. You can identify the data that will be most helpful, and then set KPIs (key performance indicators) around that information. Without having a clear idea of what you’re after, it can be easy to sink in the murky data sea.
Find your next big idea by using consumer intelligence in discovery. Consumer intelligence can help develop exciting new products and services. The best part? You already know that there’s a hungry market waiting. This has become such a popular ladder to business success that there’s even a term for it: ‘customer co-creation’. By inviting stakeholders into your process, you help initiate discussion and build goodwill. However, not all customer co-creation produces a winner. Just ask Boaty McBoatface.
Monitor online ratings and reviews, for both your business and your competitors. Online reviews can make or break a business, so paying attention to your online reputation is important. However, this is a customer-controlled landscape, and much of it is out of your hands. This lack of control can be a nightmare for big companies that spend millions on PR and managing their reputation. But for SMEs looking to compete with their larger brethren, this can be an opportunity. Look at negative feedback and see where improvements can be made. At the same time, look at your positive feedback. Can it help you cultivate brand ambassadors and advocates?
Identify and activate more granular audience segments. New analytics have enabled businesses to move beyond traditional demographics and segment their audiences by behaviour, rather than shared traits and backgrounds. This allows for more targeted, personal messaging with higher conversion rates and lower costs per click. For example, you can create a customer profile that considers:
Social media activity.
Hobbies and interests.
These details can help you create a powerful D2C strategy that reaches consumers where they spend their time. And with a message that addresses their priorities.
Optimise your pricing strategy. Getting the optimal price for your product or service is crucial. It not only impacts profitability; it defines your perceived value. In many cases, price is the first thing customers will look at when considering a product or service. Unfortunately, pricing can also be a business’s biggest headache. To optimise your pricing, you’ll need to know your competitors. You’ll also need to know your customer. Look at your consumer intelligence to check out your customers’ spending patterns and pin down your pricing.
Measure the performance of marketing campaigns and run A/B testing. Consumer intelligence will help you build a profile of your customer. Once you have a good idea of who they are – and where they spend their time – you can tailor your messaging to meet their needs. Make sure that you leverage the power of the channels you’re using. And ensure that you’re focusing on your customer’s priorities, whether that’s pricing, functionality or style. Then run A/B testing on your different messaging and see what’s producing the best results.
Let customer pain points lead you to new places. Measuring customer satisfaction can have some unexpected benefits. Not only can it help you improve service; it can also help identify pain points that the market is not addressing. By offering new solutions to those pain points, you can create exciting products and services. For example, Post It notes were invented due to frustration with bookmarking pages in a bible.
Remember that today’s businesses need to move at the speed of the web. Today’s customer expects speed. That means frictionless customer journeys and efficient service. By leveraging the use of AI and predictive analytics, you can give the customer what they need, before they realise they need it. If you can reach your customer with the right product or service before other businesses can, you’ll have a competitive advantage. Consider how AI can help anticipate needs and create an incredible customer experience.
When it comes down to it, consumer intelligence doesn’t have to be complicated. We’re presented with billions of data points, but with the right tools, it’s easy to use those mountains of data to build a customer-centric ecosystem. With the right insights, you can create personalised marketing campaigns that connect with customer. Even better, you can build relationships that last a lifetime.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms can help your business cut costs, reduce complexity and gain deep consumer insights from a single trusted platform. Tools like Marketing Cloud can track campaign performance and engagement, while Einstein offers predictive analytics, helping you evaluate the end results of your actions.
With so much data available, it’s easy to say goodbye to guesswork and say hello to a more intelligent tomorrow.
To see more about how exceptional customer journeys can lead to big benefits, check out our guide, Thriving in the Experience Economy.